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Wild Capybara - The Largest Rodent

Wild Capybara - The Largest Rodent
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2003-12-21
Exposure: f/3.0, 1/50 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-15 7:49
Viewed: 7898
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I am still sorting my West African images, so today I go back to Christmas 2003 to the Llanos in Venezuela to show you this wild Capybara - the largest living member of the rodent family.

This is a lone male - and for a Capybara - huge. I had to creep up on him for several minutes to get this shot.

This was taken with a Canon Powershot G5 - before I went fully digital.

The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, also known as capibara, chigüire in Venezuela, ronsoco in Peru, chigüiro, and carpincho in Spanish, and capivara in Portuguese, is the largest living rodent in the world. Its closest relatives are agouti, chinchillas, coyphillas, and guinea pigs. Its common name, derived from Kapiÿva 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 centimetres (4.3 ft) in length, and weigh up to 65 kg (140 lb). The top recorded weight is 105.4 kg (232 lbs). 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.

Capybara is an herbivore, grazing mainly on grasses and aquatic plants, as well as fruit and tree bark. An adult capybara will eat 6 to 8 pounds (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 faeces 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 are social animals, usually found in groups, between 10 and 30 (though larger 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.[citation needed]

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.

Los llanos (meaning 'the plains') is a vast tropical grassland plain situated at the east of the Andes in northwestern South America (Colombia and Venezuela). Its main river is the Orinoco, which forms part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela and is the major river system of Venezuela.

The climate change of the Llanos is extreme. During the rainy season from May to October, parts of the Llanos can flood up to a meter. This turns the forests and grassland to be turned into a temporary wetland. This flooding also makes the area unique for its wildlife. The area supports around 70 species of water birds, including 90% of the endangered species, the Scarlet Ibis.

This event also makes the area unfit for most agriculture before the advent of modern, industrial technology; therefore, during the colonial era, the prime economic activity of the area came from the herding of millions of heads of cattle. The term llanero ("plainsman") became synonymous with the cowhands that took care of the herds, and had some cultural similarities to the compare to the gauchos of the Pampas or the vaqueros of Spanish and Mexican Texas.

CeltickRanger, roges, fabianoleite, nasokoun, horias, xTauruSx, siggi, marianas, jaycee, jlinaresp, zulfu, sandpiper2, boreocypriensis, Dis. Ac., tuslaw, anemone has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello James

beautiful photo of the Largest of Rodents on his habitat,
fine POV, fine focus sharpness and details of all the image,
i love to see details of the animal and same time his habitat,
beautiful luminosity coming to the photo, TFS


  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-01-15 7:56]

Hello "neighbors" James!
What we honor today I was also a neighbor like you. Again a beautiful picture with beautiful details and colors.
Excellent description.
Have a nice weekend,

Good contrast with green and red, very well captured. These animals are great, amazingly big for rodents. Here in my city we have a lot. I posted one in TrekEarth, in the city of Sete Lagoas. Congratulations!

hello James,
beautiful animal, you compose a good picture from fine POV, well focused, with intensely vivid colors, good presentation + notes!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-01-15 9:35]

Wonderful capture this lovely Wild Capybara !
Great details and colors.
Very funny face!

Hello James,
Lovely and great shot of this cute and really largest rodent from nice point of view with wonderful composition.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-01-15 11:19]

Hi James. I well taken picture on the small canon G5. All the sae it did a good job. I think the Capybaras are such strong looking animals. You were able toget close to this one. Good detail in the fur. TFS with the interesting notes.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-01-15 11:32]

Hello James,
A beautiful capture of this lovely Capybara in a wonderful pose.I love the expression on his face.Wonderful natural colors and very fine details.
Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-15 11:37]

Hello James,
We were there in 2004. What a wonderful country! I also saw lot of capibaras, even on special farms.
Great photo in beautiful natural light and colours. Excellent sharpness, details and POV. Very beautiful surroundings.
Have a good weekend,

What a amazing animal!
Very fanny face.

Gracias James, por tu comentario a mi pequeña mariposa!
Aún recuerdo la gran fotografía que publicaste antes que esta jeje
Esta última un interesante documento de un mamífero que yo solamente conozco en fotografía.
Saludos y buen fin de semana: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-01-15 15:10]

Hi James,

Wonderful capture of this very large rodent. He has the cutest face and little ears. So good to see him in his natural habitat. Marvelous colors, details, setting and composition.


Hi James,
One of our "Chiguires"! good picture, excellent documentation!
TFS & Regards from Venezuela!

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-01-15 23:22]

Hello James, lovely shot of a capybara with excellent composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

Hi James

Fine capture of this big rodent, I would love to see one in the wild one day. Fine capture with the G5.


Hi Bro,

An awesome capture of this beuty.
TFS and have a nice WE!


Hello James,

so you are an well traveled man eand you photographed all kind of animals or landscapes and very good so as this one.


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-01-16 16:45]

Hello James,
Looks like your patience paid off in this case, such a beautiful shot of this Capybara.
I have never seen one in the wild, so your photo is appreciated very much as it shows wonderful detail and natural colors. Super job!!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-01-19 4:19]

Hello James,
A really great capture of this big rodent in its natural environment. Very fine sharp details and natural colours too.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hi again James.
Awesome catch! very cute faced mammal!
Great POV.
TFS. Kind regards,

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