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September 6, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Animal of the week: The Capybara

This week’s ‘Animal’ is the world’s largest rodent, the capybara. By “world’s largest rodent”, we’re talking considerably larger than the rats and/or mice coexisting with your in your Aro Street dive: female capybara can grow up to weigh 65kg. But musophobes need not fear, as the capybara is a) found only in parts of South America, so it’s unlikely to turn up in your oats; and b) considerably cuddlier-looking than its common cousins: it looks like a gigantic, ride-on guinea pig. For this reason (well, I can’t think of any other), they are occasionally kept as pets in the States and Canada. It is semi-aquatic, and, in the wild, can remain underwater for up to five minutes in order to evade its numerous predators: anacondas, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, eagles, caiman… All share a taste for capybara, but, if it’s a light snack they’re after, a common agouti might be a better choice. The agouti is also found in parts of South America, and is a much smaller relation of the capybara. In fact, the sequence of guinea pig to common agouti to capybara is pleasingly akin to a Pokémon evolution. More animals should have such logical progressions.

Email suggestions for an upcoming Animal of the Week to elle@salient.org.nz. Only five to go!

ANIMAL FACT!
Animals wish they were your best friend—if only you noticed their existence.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

Comments (7)

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  1. Miller says:

    Pictures or it doesn’t exist

  2. Mikey says:

    Are you gonna do one on that thing I found in the sea?

  3. you know who says:

    galah.

  4. bookworm says:

    I used to like that Bill Peet book Capyboppy as a kid which is how I knew about them…

  5. gerko says:

    hallo hoe gaat het ermee met mij gaat het goed

  6. Renee Lyons says:

    Pft, everyone knows the world’s largest rodents are the ROUSes, commonly found in the Fire Swamp.

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