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Los Llanos, Casanare, Colombia

(Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

IUCN status : Least Concern

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent and can grow up to 5 feet in length. An adult capybara weighs as much as an adult human. The scientific name means Water Hog. Males are distinguished with a prominent knob like protrusion above their nostrils.

They are excellent swimmers and can even sleep in water. Their toes are partially webbed for paddling around, and their reddish to dark brown fur is long and brittle—perfect for drying out quickly on land. Small eyes, noses, and hairless ears are located high on their heads so that their faces remain exposed and alert when most of their body is submerged. Capybaras can stay underwater for up to five minutes at a time. Equally agile in land they can run at a maximum speed of 35 kmph.

To make up for the constant wear and tear of eating tough aquatic plants and grasses—their pearly white teeth keep on growing throughout their life! Like rabbits, their high-crowned, narrow-edge teeth are perfectly adapted for cutting up their food.

They’re highly social animals. Capybaras are rather vocal animals. They like to express themselves by purring, barking, cackling, whistling, squealing, whining, grunting and even teeth-chattering—depending on what they’re trying to communicate. They raise their babies in groups where a number of females take care of a group of babies. Often referred to as “nature’s ottoman” or “moving chairs”, these friendly critters don’t ever seem to knock back a ride sharing request from another animal. A whole host of bird species, monkeys, rabbits, and even other Capybaras have been spotted seated, perched or laying on the back of a much-obliging Capybara.

Capybaras form the best menu of Anacondas. If not eaten up by any predator, they live up to 7 years.

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