Biggest rodent on Earth

Capybara. Amazon rainforest. Brazil
Capybara. - © Lee Torrens/Istockphoto

Among all Amazon rainforest animals, carpincho or capybara is a fairly common sight that can be seen on the banks of Amazon river and its tributaries.

Prized meat for Amazon natives, its enemies are not only human, but other inhabitants of the jungle, such as jaguars, caimans, anacondas and ocelots, among others.

Its biggest threat, however, is the Amazon rainforest deforestation, due to logging, farming, etc.

Since more than 50 % of them live in the Amazon rainforest, this massive loss of habitat causes its extinction at an accelerated pase.

Still, due to its rapid reproduction cycle they are common in Brazil and Peru rainforests.

It's the biggest rodent on Earth, related to rats and mice.
Semi-aquatic of the herbivore type, it looks like a cross between a guinea pig and hippopotamus.
Its name comes from Guaranķ language, meaning "master of the grasses".

With a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, carpincho can reach a length of 4 feet (1,20 meters) and weight up to 100 lb. or 45/50 kg.
Its colour goes from brown to reddish, with a taugh skin that provides high quality leather.

Due to this reason, it's farmed in Argentina, where many leather articles can be seen at leather stores in Buenos Aires, i.e. jackets, bags, shoes, belts, etc.

Capybara swimming. Amazon rainforest.
Capybara swimming

Its favorite diet consist of grass of different types, including aquatic vegetation, grain, melons and squashes.
It can swim and dive with ease, capable of staying submerged for up to five minutes.

In fact, at the first whiff of danger is able to sink like a submarine, or hide in the murky waters with its nose sticking out.
Its webbed feet helps it to move in water as well as the muddy ground of riverbanks.

They are very social animals that live in small family groups of 10-20 with a dominant male figure, usually the heaviest.

Let's see one of the challenges it has to face in the long survival chain of the Amazon Rainforest...

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