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The Capybara ~ the world’s largest rodent

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Some fun facts on the world's largest rodent

Known affectionately as the “Land of the Giants” by intrepid wildlife enthusiasts, Guyana boasts a whopping 15+ giant species of fauna and flora. Research shows that the pristine nature of the ecosystems these creatures inhabit makes for

© Leon Moore

prime breeding spots. One of Guyana’s many impressive giant species is the Capybara, more commonly known as the Watrush.

So, keep reading for some fun facts about this friendly and fascinating semi-aquatic mammal. Tick off how many you know!

  • Often reaching over four feet long and two feet tall, Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world.

  • Given their hair's sparseness, they often roll around in the mud to protect their skin from the sun. Clever!

  • They are excellent swimmers as their feet are slightly webbed, which also gives them a distinctive star-shaped footprint. Look out for their tracks on the river banks!

  • They regurgitate their food to chew it again for even more nutritional value.

  • When it is time to mate, the scent of the females change and they whistle through their nose to attract males.

  • When Capybaras bark, they sound a bit like a dog. Sometimes, when they are threatened, they squeak like a guinea pig.

  • Their two front teeth never stop growing. Much like other rodents, they use these teeth to gnaw at aquatic plants, barks and vegetation - a main source of their nutrition. If these teeth fall out, they will quickly grow back! Fascinating, isn’t it? ©Ashley Holland

  • Their scientific name means ‘water horse’, which makes sense given that they can spend up to five minutes underwater!

  • Despite having a lifespan of up to ten years, they don’t often live past four years in the wild, giving they are preyed on by large predators such as the Jaguar, Harpy Eagle and Caiman.

Why not take a jungle kayak tour along the extraordinary Rupununi River? You might just paddle past them!

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