By Marla Lise
What is the Capybara?
Capybara in Peru. Photo by Marla Lise.
Scientific Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Think of it as a very, very large guinea pig, one as big as a dog.
Capybaras are found all over South America, except for Chile. In some areas there are so many of them, they are even considered a pest. For example, in 1999 scientists found 12.5 capybaras per hectare in the Brazilian Pantanal. In other areas, such as in some parts of the Amazon, capybaras can be quite rare.
Capybaras have barrel-shaped bodies with small eyes on the top of their heads, which allow them to peek over the top of the water when they are submerged. They are good swimmers and can hold their breath for up to five minutes.
Capybaras are sociable animals, traveling in groups with up to 100 individuals. They live near the water and feed on grasses and aquatic plants.
Although this species is hunted for its meat and fur and also sometimes kept as pets, the capybara is not threatened.
Blue and Gold Macaw
Grey Winged Trumpeter
Asian black bear
Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Black-faced spider monkey
Brown capuchin monkey
Capybara [2nd profile]
Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
South American tapir
South American coatimundi
Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
Giant Chinese Salamander
Gladiator Tree Frog
Green Poison Arrow Frog
Indian Purple Frog
All about Rainforests
May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects?
Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite kids.mongabay.com as the source.
Can I interview the founder of mongabay.com for my school project?
Unfortunately due to the large number of requests and the need to work on the main mongabay.com site, Rhett (the person who runs mongabay.com) is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
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Currently there are a few on the resources page. There may be more in the future.
Who are some scientists who study rainforests?
Take a look at the Interviews with rainforest experts page.
How can I help save rainforests?
Some ideas are listed on the Rainforest Solutions page.
Where can I learn more about rainforests?
There is a wealth of information at the main rainforest site
Simplified version (fewer images and links)