The following text, in english, is from Wikipedia, the free
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.
Though now extinct, there once existed a larger capybara called Neochoerus pinckneyi. Other fossil caviomorphs that were eight times the size of modern capybaras have been called "capybaras" by the popular press, but were actually dinomyids related to the pacarana. There is also a "lesser capybara", Hydrochoerus isthmius.
Capybaras reach sexual maturity within 22 months and breed when conditions are perfect, 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, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Uruguay, Peru, and Paraguay) in densely forested areas near bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and marshes, as well as flooded savannah and along rivers in tropical forest. They roam in home ranges of 25–50 acres (10–20 ha). Many escapees from captivity can also be found in similar watery habitats around the world. Though it has been erroneously stated that a population of capybara existed in the River Arno in Florence, Italy, this was determined to be the nutria or coypu, (Myocastor coypus) a considerably smaller South American aquatic rodent with a similar appearance.
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.
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.
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 jaguar, puma, ocelot, eagle and caiman". The capybara is the preferred prey of the anaconda, the heaviest snake on Earth, which can reach a length of 7.5 metres.
Capybara are not on the IUCN list and therefore 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.
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 unusual characteristic of stretching in just one direction. In some areas they are farmed, which has the effect of ensuring that the wetland habitats are protected. Their survival is aided by their ability to breed rapidly.
Capybaras can be found in many areas in zoos and parks, sometimes allowed to roam freely and may live for 12 years in captivity.
Capybaras are gentle and will usually allow humans to pet and hand-feed them. Capybara skin is tough, and thus in some areas where capybaras are wild, they are hunted for meat and their skin, which is turned into a high-quality leather, while some ranchers hunt them for fear of the competition for grazing. The meat is said to look and taste like pork. The Capybara meat is dried and salted, then shredded and seasoned. Considered a delicacy, it is often served with rice and plantains.
During the Christian observation of Lent, capybara meat is especially popular as it is claimed that the Catholic church, in a special dispensation, classified the animal as a fish in the 16th century. (cf. Barnacle goose) There are differing accounts of how the dispensation arose. The most cited refers to a group of 16th Century missionaries who made a request which implied that the semi-aquatic capybara might be a "fish" and also hinted that there would be an issue with starvation if the animal weren't classified as suitable for Lent.
^ a b Charles A. Woods and C. William Kilpatrick (2005-11-16). Wilson,
D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd
edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
^ Queirolo, D., Vieira, E. & Reid, F. (2008). Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 5 January 2009.
^ a b Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (capybara). University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
^ Darwin, Charles R. (1839), Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. Journal and remarks. 1832-1836., London: Henry Colburn, pp. 619
In page 57, Darwin says "The largest gnawing animal in the world, the Hydrochærus Capybara (the water-hog), is here also common."
See it also in The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online
^ a b c (Spanish) J Forero-Montana, J Betancur, J Cavelier. "Dieta del capibara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (cavia: Hydrochaeridae) en Caño Limón, Arauca, Colombia", Rev. biol. trop, Jun. 2003, vol.51, no.2, pp. 571–578. ISSN 0034-7744. PDF available (English translation)
^ a b c d e f Capybara Natural History. JunglePhotos.com. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
^ a b "Trip to South America gives new meaning to outdoors life" from inRich.com (Link last retrieved/verified 17 January 2008)
^ a b c d Capybara. San Francisco Zoo. Retrieved on December 17, 2007.
^ a b c d Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Chester Zoo (UK). Retrieved on December 17, 2007
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Capybara. Bristol Zoo Gardens (UK). Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
^ a b c d e f g Capybara Facts. Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
^ a b The Encyclopædia Britannica (1910) Capybara (from Google Books)
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^ www.waza.org/virtualzoo/factsheet.php?id=110-020-001-001&... and Hares&main=virtualzoo
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^ a b c d e f Capybara fact sheet
^ a b Capybara Foraging and Feeding Behavior
^ Smith, N. J. H. (1981). "Caimans capybaras otters manatees and man in amazonia." Biological Conservation 19(3): 177-187.
^ Jerusalem Biblical Zoo - Capybara
^ Saint Louis Zoo, Capybara
^ Philadelphia Zoo, Overview & Mission
^ San Diego Zoo
^ Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Capybara
^ a b Lipske, Michael. The Ranchers' Favorite Rodent. National Wildlife Federation (Feb/Mar 2006, vol. 44 no. 2)
^ a b Ellsworth, Brian. "In Days Before Easter, Venezuelans Tuck Into Rodent-Related Delicacy". New York Sun(March 24, 2005)
^ Romero, Simon (March 21, 2007), "In Venezuela, Rodents Can Be a Delicacy", The New York Times, retrieved 2008-03-18
O texto, em português, a seguir é da wikipédia:
Encontrada em certas áreas das Américas do Sul e Central, próximo a rios e lagos, a capivara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) é o maior roedor herbívoro do mundo. Alimenta-se de capins e ervas, comuns em várzeas e alagados, e pode chegar a pesar até 80 kg.
No Rio Grande do Sul, é também conhecida por capincho ou carpincho.
É uma excelente nadadora, tendo inclusive pés com pequenas membranas. Ela se reproduz na água e a usa como defesa, escondendo-se de seus predadores. Ela pode permanecer submersa por alguns minutos. A capivara também é conhecida por dormir submersa com apenas o focinho fora d'água.
No Pantanal, seus principais períodos de atividade são pela manhã e à tardinha, mas em áreas mais críticas podem tornar-se exclusivamente noturnas. Nas décadas de 60 e 70 as capivaras foram caçadas comercialmente no Pantanal, por sua pele e pelo seu óleo que era considerado como tendo propriedades medicinais. Estudos posteriores indicam que pode haver, no mínimo, cerca de 400 mil capivaras em todo o Pantanal.
A capivara, como animal pastador, utiliza a água como refúgio, e não como fonte de alimentos, o que a torna muito tolerante à vida em ambientes alterados pelo homem: tornou-se famoso o caso da "capivara da lagoa", que viveu durante meses no entorno da Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas na área urbana do Rio de Janeiro, assim como é notória a presença de capivaras em partes dos rios Tietê e Pinheiros, em plena São Paulo, apesar do altíssimo índice de poluição destes rios.
Nas regiões ao longo do Rio Paraná no sul do Brasil e norte da Argentina, as capivaras são freqüentemente capturadas e aprisionadas para criações em cativeiro ou para serem abatidas como carne de caça.
Entretanto, no Brasil, esta prática tem de ser precedida de projeto e licenciada pelos órgãos de controle ambiental sob pena de configurar crime ambiental, já que a capivara é uma espécie protegida por lei.
Existem estudos para sua criação em cativeiro visando a produção de carne como substituto à caça predatória, mas ainda há poucos resultados práticos nesse sentido. Sua carne tem sabor próximo ao do porco e é mais magra porém com um sabor mais picante.
No xadrez, capivara é o apelido que é dado a um jogador muito ruim.