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Capybara: the biggest rodent in the world

November 29, 2016


Few animal species are as distinct and unique as the Capybara. The Capybara, a rodent the size of a Labrador Retriever, is the biggest rodent in the world. Here, at the Tambo Blanquillo Private – Reserve, we have the luck of counting with a very healthy population of this species. In this blog post, we will briefly introduce you to this species, its ecology, and some interesting facts.

Capybara Family – Photo: Alfredo Fernandez

Capybara Family – Photo: Alfredo Fernandez

Capybaras are gregarious animals and live in family groups of up to 8 individuals. They feed exclusively on semi-aquatic grasses and aquatic plants. Because of this, they spend most of their time –if not all-, besides bodies of water. In order to adapt to this environment, they have evolved webbed feet and amazing diving capabilities! They normally dive into the river to escape from terrestrial predators, like Jaguars and Pumas. Due to their high affinity to water bodies, they are normally seen along the Madre de Dios River, as they rest on the sandy beaches. Occasionally they are also seen by the Blanquillo Clay Lick, as they supplement their diet with salts and minerals from this clay-lick.

Capybara Family Feeding on the Blanquillo Clay-lick – Photo: Lucho Raffo

Capybara Family Feeding on the Blanquillo Clay-lick – Photo: Lucho Raffo

In 2015, we managed to film a family of Capybaras in the Clay-lick itself. Check the following Youtube video. Please note that this was filmed from our photography blind, and the capybaras were not disturbed in any way.

Being herbivores of such a big size, they are a great source of protein to many predators. Earlier in the blog I mentioned how the dive into the river to escape their terrestrial predators, which basically are the big cats that inhabit the Amazon Rainforest. However, diving is not a skill that is all too helpful for evading the other set of predators, the aquatic ones. Capybaras –specially when young- are an important prey to Black Caimans and the gigantic Anaconda.

If you wish to see this species, we highly recommend you to visit our private reserve, especially during the months of July, August, and September. As the water levels are at their lowest, more beaches are formed, and therefore there is more chances to see them.

Please do not hesitate to contact us via our web form, or via a comment in the comment section, if you happen to have any questions.

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