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The Capybara in Peru: Amazon’s Biggest Rodent

The capybara is the largest rodent in the world, its height can go up to half a meter. These semi-aquatic creatures make their homes along the banks of swamps, lakes, and rivers in tropical South America.

Perfectly adapted for life in the water, capybaras are excellent swimmers. When threatened, they quickly take refuge in the water where they can remain submerged for extended periods to evade predators.

For this article, we’ll learn more about the capybara in Peru with Peru Amazon Trips!

Capybara in Peru

What Does Capybara Mean?

The name “capybara” derives from the Guarani language, meaning either “master of the grasses” or “grass eater.” In the Tupi language, the name translates to “one who eats thin leaves” or “grass eater.”
The genus Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, derived from Greek, refers scientifically to capybaras, meaning “water pig.”

In Peru, people call the capybara ronsoco or carpincho.

The word you asked about, capybara, refers to this large semi-aquatic rodent itself, originating from indigenous South American language words describing its grass-eating habits.

At Manu’s National Park

Capybaras inhabit diverse habitats, always near water bodies like lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, or mangrove swamps, spanning lowlands to 1,300m elevations.

Even on a short tour to Manu National Park, you’re likely to see these large rodents near rivers, lakes and other wetlands. They typically live in groups of around 8 individuals or in mated pairs, spending much of their time in the water.

Capybaras excel in aquatic life, being superb swimmers and divers with webbed feet, enabling effortless gliding through water. These highly social and adaptable creatures communicate with a variety of vocalizations and scent markings within their groups.

A capybara's frontal photography.


Whichever way you choose to explore, the Tambopata Reserve provides amazing opportunities to observe these wonderfully unique, semi-aquatic rodents in their natural Amazon habitat.

With a bit of patience and guidance from knowledgeable locals, you’re likely to make some magical capybara memories.

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