My search for capybaras in Brazil was less successful in Rio de Janeiro. However, this stunningly beautiful city needs no decorative rodents to accessorize it. And yet, the rumors of urban capybaras were so tantalizing!
In Rio, there is a lagoon, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas where capybaras have been sighted. Lots of water, lots of grass, and quite a bit of habitat in town.
We drove the perimeter (not as easy as it sounds) and stopped at a park with likely looking capybara habitat.
Where Sam spotted some capybara poop!
Then we saw some capybaras! But wait just a minute…
It’s subtle, but there are little capybaras everywhere.
How hard could it be to make some of these?
We decided to go see some real ones and come back at night.
Many people excitedly directed us toward Campo de Santana to see all the capybaras! But they are agoutis. Rabbit sized rodents, we only saw them there. They are more common farther north.
Agoutis are pretty cute, too. Only the back half of them gets pouffy, which makes them look really silly.
But you came here to see capybaras, so here you go!
Busted! This is the zoo! Actually it is a free area just outside the zoo, Fauna Footbridge. The animals are below as you walk through the area. It’s a nice big area, but could use some planting. Only half of it is open and in use, so it is a Work in Progress. We’ve got plenty of those here, too.
The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest of all rodents, reaching a meter in length [39″]. It has no tail and the ears are small. It lives by the riverside, swimming and diving. The capybara is herbivorous and feeds on a wide variety of vegetables. The gestation period is 120 days, and the cubs are born weighing 1.4 kg [3 pounds]. They can have up to seven pups. Brazil has other rodents such as the Agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) at 50 cm [20″] length with brown to reddish brown color. The Brazilian Squirrel (Sciureus aestuans) with a long and hairy tail, arboreal, clinging to the branches with their long nails. The Hedgehog (Sphygurus villosus) is 60 cm [24″] long with yellowish brown fur where they hide the spines which are their defense. These animals are often confused with another relative and the European “porcupine” which also belongs to another family of rodents that are of much larger size.
[Or something like that…]
They were in with a couple tapirs, some larger hoofstock, turtles, ostriches and everyone was milling around contentedly.
They are all hairier than Dobbye. Their sparse, coarse fur provides no warmth, just protection from the sun.
I know you were hoping for more capybaras, so just look at these guys again and pretend they’re different ones.
Let’s go back to that bar by the lagoon.
Still no LIVE capybaras, but Capycoppy was happy with this one.
This would be the end of the story, but I am already scheming to go back. I’m sure if I get myself back to Rio and sit at this bar long enough I’ll see some real capybaras.