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Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5136 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-05
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D70, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-19 9:47
Viewed: 10882
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is taken from a boat.

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, also known as capibara, chigüiro and carpincho in Spanish, and capivara in Portuguese) is the largest living rodent in the world. It is related to agouti, chinchillas, coyphillas, and guinea pigs. Its common name, derived from Kapi˙va in the Guarani language, means "master of the grasses" while its scientific name, hydrochaeris, is Greek for "water hog".

Capybaras have heavy, barrel-shaped bodies and short heads with reddish-brown fur on the upper part of their body that turns yellowish-brown underneath. Adult capybaras may grow to 130 cm. and 50 cm. tall, weighing up to 65 kg . Capybaras have slightly webbed feet, no tail, and 20 teeth.; their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs and their muzzles are blunt with eyes, nostrils, and ears on top of their head. Females are slightly heavier than males.

Capybaras reach sexual maturity within 18 months and breed when conditions are right, which can be once per year (such as in Brazil) or throughout the year (such as in Venezuela and Colombia). The male pursues a female and mounts when the female stops in water. Capybara gestation is 130–150 days and usually produces a litter of four capybara babies, but may produce between two and eight in a single litter. Birth is on land and the female will rejoin the group within a few hours of delivering the newborn capybaras, who will join the group as soon as they are mobile. Within a week the young can eat grass, but will continue to suckle - from any female in the group - until weaned at about 16 weeks. Youngsters will form a group within the main group. The rainy season of April and May mark the peak breeding season. Like other rodents, the front teeth of capybaras grow continually to compensate for the constant wearing-down from eating grasses; their cheek teeth also grow continuously. When fully grown, a capybara will have coarse hair that is sparsely spread over their skin, making the capybara prone to sunburn. To prevent this, they may roll in mud to protect their skin from the sun.

Capybara have an extremely efficient digestive system that sustains the animal while 75% of its diet encompasses only 3-6 species of plants.

Capybara are semi-aquatic mammals found wild in much of South America (including Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, French Guyana, Uruguay, Peru, and Paraguay) in densely forested areas near bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and marshes, such as flooded savannah and along rivers in tropical forest. They roam in home ranges of 10–20 ha.

Capybara is an herbivore (more specifically, a graminivore), grazing mainly on grasses and aquatic plants, as well as fruit and tree bark. An adult capybara will eat 2.7 to 3.6 kg of grasses per day. Capybara's jaw hinge is non-perpendicular and they thus chew food by grinding back and forth rather than side-to-side.
Capybaras are coprophagous, meaning they eat their own feces as a source of bacterial gut flora and in order to help digest the cellulose in the grass that forms their normal diet and extract the maximum protein from their food. Additionally, they may regurgitate food to masticate the food again, similar to cud-chewing by a cow.
Capybaras will not follow the same route while grazing on consecutive days.

Capybaras are social animals, usually found in groups, between 10 and 30 (though looser groups of up to 100 sometimes can be formed), controlled by a dominant male (who will have a prominent scent gland on his nose used for smearing his scent on the grasses in his territory.) They communicate through a combination of scent and sound, being very vocal animals with purrs and alarm barks, whistles and clicks, squeals and grunts.
Capybaras are excellent swimmers and can survive completely underwater for up to five minutes, an ability they will use to evade predators. If necessary, a Capybara can sleep underwater, keeping its nose just at the waterline.
During midday, as temperatures increase, Capybaras wallow in water to keep cool and then graze in late afternoons and early evenings. They sleep little, usually dozing off and on throughout the day and grazing into and through the night.

Capybara are not on the IUCN list and so not considered a threatened species; their population is stable through most of their South American ranges, though in some areas hunting has reduced their numbers. They have a lifespan of 4-8 years in the wild but average a life less than four years as they are "a favourite food of anacondas, jaguar, puma, ocelot, eagle and caiman".
Capybaras are hunted for their meat and pelts in some areas, and otherwise killed by humans who see their grazing as competition for livestock. The skins are particularly prized for making fine gloves because of its odd characteristic—it stretches in just one direction. In some areas they are farmed, which has the effect of insuring that the wetland habitats are protected. Their survival is aided by their ability to breed rapidly.

Source: Wikipedia

pvs, nglen, boreocypriensis, Alex99, fiyo, viv, warnzy, jaycee, Islander_, eqshannon, ramthakur, hester, Adanac, Argus, uleko has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Argus: CapybaraPeterZ 1 03-03 09:10
To Adanac: Health problemPeterZ 1 02-20 07:12
To Zeno: CapybaraPeterZ 1 02-19 12:10
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-02-19 10:12]

Ha Peter,

Een fraaie opname,dit beest doet me direct herinneren aan een vakantie te ecuador,op een lodge aaan de rand van de jungle hadden ze hier een tamme capabara (was als wees binnengehaald),de eerste ontmoeting was savonds tijdens het diner,toen liep hij als een hond onder de tafel langs,dit was wel even schrikken bij velen,aangezien er natuurlijk eerst gedacht werd aan een hond,mooie foto met natuurlijke kleuren,


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-02-19 10:42]

Hi Peter. firstly very interesting notes. you have taken a fine close up of this unusal looking animal. a good shot from a boat. good detail and natural lookin colours. he has his eyes on you. well done TFS.

Hi Peter,

Very beautiful photo of this Capybara. Fantastic sharpness, details and vivid and clear colours. TFS.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-02-19 11:08]

Hi Peter.
What a nice meetings and cute shot of the beautiful animal. Its glance and pose are perfect. Eye-contact is amazing as well as the composition of the picture and its sharpness. My kind regards and TFS.

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2008-02-19 11:48]
  • [+]

Ha peter,

Dit zijn de echte natuurfoto's. Heb zelf nog nooit een capibara gezien, maar volgens mij behoren ze tot de grootste knaagdieren. Zo te zien is het beest erg verbaasd een mens te zien.


  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-02-19 11:55]

Hello Peter,
A beautiful capture of this lovely Capybara in a wonderful pose.I love the expression on his face. TFS

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2008-02-19 12:03]

Hoi Peter,
Wat een leuke plaat, heel speciaal. Ik heb ze ook ergens gezien maar wist toen de naam nog niet. En volgens mij is hij zeer verbaasd.

Ottima composizione e presentazione di questo animale. Buona nitidezza e colori naturali. Complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

Hi Peter,

Good portrait of big rodent, nice eye contact! Looks a bit soft, but may be because of boat movement, Well done! Thank you,


hello Peter
nice to see famous Capibara from your shot. great timing and composition. Focus, POV, eye contact very nice. TFS, well done

The colours of the animal are well saturated. The focus is very good. Well captured, thank you.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-20 7:40]

Hi Peter,

He has the funniest face. I wish I knew how to convert to inches and pounds. Sounds pretty big for a rodent. Nice shot with wonderful eye contact. Wonderful details of his coat. Lovely natural colors and a good job from the car.


If that is a rodent, then I don't know what New Yorkers who live in some apartments are complaining about...it fits that things could always be worse:-) Very interesting and a creature I have never even heard of more or less seen!

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-20 20:31]

Hello Peter

A good capture of the world's largest rodent.
You have managed very good detail and fur texture.
The colours are natural.


This animal is new for me, Peter.
Very good shot from the boat. I can understand the slightly soft focus under the circumstances.
TFS and regards.

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-02-21 12:17]

Hi Peter

What a great face! I love mammals. This is nicely composed and the pose is great. Well done for getting this from a boat.



  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-02-22 6:48]

Hi Peter,
Wonderful portrait shot with such nice details on its fur. Fabulous eye contact and I like the natural surrounding. Superb lighting and exposure. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hello Peter,
Splendid capture, excellent notes an all around superb posting, thank you and great job Peter.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-03 8:23]
  • [+]

Hello Peter,
Fine capture of athe world's largest rodent, the Capybara. Though this must have been cropped fairly heavily there is sufficient sharpness and detail to see the features of this animal from this fine POV. Nice composition in its natural environment.
Best wishes, Ivan

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-03 10:59]

Hello Peter,
I've seen the Agoutis but this one looks more solid! Interesting close capture showing details and colours very well.
Many thanks, Ulla

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