The Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)
The Capybara is considered the largest living rodent in the world. With its strange-looking face and odd living conditions, there is a lot to learn about these awesome animals. So let's just dive right into it.
Physical Description and Behavior
The Capybara has a fairly heavyset body with a square-shaped head. Their fur is reddish-brown on their back and turned into a lighter yellowish color towards the belly. They can be upwards of 146 pounds, and over 4 feet in length. That is pretty large for an animal that is closely related to the Guinea Pig.
Their feet are slightly webbed, and they have a vestigial tail. One of the most noticeable parts about them is their eyes, which seem to be bored, or uninterested. They are one of the few animals that do not have the ability to produce their own Vitamin C. As a result, any Capybara in captivity who doesn't get supplementary vitamin C tends to develop scurvy.
They are herbivores and eat mostly grasses, but also eat tree bark and fruit when available. They tend to be fairly selective, picking just one species of plant to munch on, while generally ignoring all of the others. At least until the dry season when they are forced to add more diversity in their food.
Habitat and Location
They are semiaquatic mammals that are found in pretty much all locations in South America with the exception of Chile. They love living in densely forested areas near bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, marshes, etc.
The IUCN Red List considers the capybara to be of Least Concern when it comes to extinction. This is probably because their populations are stable, and because there are so many of them in the wild.
Check out this awesome video detailing the Capybara: