Sunday, September 8, 2013

Capybara - Giant Rodent

The giant of the rodents...

The capybara looks more like a wild pig than a rodent, but it is in fact the largest representative of this important order, to which almost half the mammals belong.  The capybara is not a threatened species, though it is hunted for its meat and hide and also for a grease from its thick fatty skin which is used in the pharmaceutical trade.  They are very abundant in South America.

Capybaras, which are more like monster guinea pigs in appearance, depend on water since they are amphibious, aquatic-like animals and live on steep banks of major watercourses in tropical latitudes.  Like other rodents they are vegetarians, and feed on water plants and woody plants - gnawing their trunks in the same way as a beaver.  They are perfectly adapted to their aquatic life, as they swim and dive freely and can stay submerged quite a long time.  If disturbed, they invariably seek refuge by diving into the water, where they hide with their body completely submerged.

They are not nocturnal animals in the true sense, but because they are hunted fairly often, they have learned to be wary of humans (I can understand that) and only come out at dawn and dusk to browse.  By day they keep to their hideouts, which may be as elaborate as a deep burrow in a steep riverbank or as rudimentary as a hollow in an impenetrable thicket.  There is keen demand for this giant rodent's meat, which is tender and tasty - going by what I have read; I've never tried it nor wanted to eat it.  Outside of man, the jaguars and crocodiles are their primary enemies via nature.


Image Credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capybara

---End of Post "Capybara - Giant Rodent"

Related Link: http://exotic-life-creatures.blogspot.com/2013/06/aardvark-earth-pig.html

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