South America is still largely covered in dense, tropical forest and other wild habitats. These eco-systems are home to a huge range of animals from the very large to the very small. Danger is constantly present, with numerous predatory species looking for their next meal. South America is also home to some very peaceful animals that thrive there despite the dangers. The capybara is one of them. They spend their days grazing on aquatic plants and other vegetation.
The capybara is quite a large animal and one which makes a good-sized meal for many predators in the region. They live together in groups and try to warn each other when a predator has been spotted. They often take to the water to escape from predators. Able to hold their breath, they often sink beneath the surface to escape a predator’s attention. They are a favourite meal for the anaconda, one of the most feared predators in the region.
The capybara is a fascinating animal. Researchers have been able to learn a great deal about them. Fortunately for us, they have been able to reveal some incredible facts.
Capybara Fact #10: Largest Rodents
Capybaras are rodents, making them members of the same family as mice, rats and rabbits. Their closest relatives are guinea pigs and rock cavies, both of which originate from the same region as the capybara. One thing that makes them stand out is their size. They are by far the largest rodents on earth. They grow to be more than 4 feet long, 24 inches tall and weigh up to around 146 pounds.
As is the case in other rodents, the capybara’s front teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime. This is to help compensate for them continually being worn down when eating. They also have ‘cheek teeth,’ which also continue to grow throughout their lives. Unusual for rodents, capybaras regurgitate their food, chewing it again to help them extract as much nutrition as they can. This is something ruminants, such as cows and goats, usually do.