Capybaras On the Go in Brasília

Let’s take a look at a couple of recently updated Globo 1 articles about capybaras in the Brazilian capital, Brasília. This is what happens when the government decides to plunk down a brand new capital city in the jungle. Apparently, the capybaras missed the notice about the public hearing, but they are protesting now!

First, we have a minor migration of capybaras blocking the road. Or maybe it is a Carnaval parade. We’ll never know. Inexplicably, this is blamed on the increased rainfall in the area. It rains all the time in Seattle and never once have I seen more than a single capybara in my front yard.

I let Google Translate it for you. Click on the photos to see the videos (and some crazy Brasilian ads). If they don’t play for you, try the link to the original article, below. Speaking of links, don’t miss the Carnaval link above. Get it rolling for the background music while you read these articles, but go back to Carnaval every couple of minute for the visuals. You won’t be disappointed.


Dezenas de capivaras são flagradas atravessando via de Brasília

Dozens of capybaras are spotted crossing via Brasília

By TV Globo

29/05/2019 11h08 Updated a year ago

Images were taken on Monday in front of the Clube Naval. Specialist says that rainfall volume favored the breeding of wild animals in urban areas; understand.

Dozens of capybaras are spotted crossing Brasília route – Photo: Personal archive

A group of capybaras stopped traffic in Brasília last Monday (27). Dozens of them were caught in front of the Clube Naval, in the Southern Sports Clubs Sector, crossing a track – all very quiet.

The scene was recorded by student Laura Siqueira. “I saw that there were volumes on the sidewalk. I even thought it might be rocks. But I approached and saw that they were capybaras. I stopped the car and filmed them going back to the lake [Paranoá].

The zoology professor at the University of Brasilia (UnB) Guarino Colli said that climatic factors and the nature cycle itself may favor the breeding of wild animals in urban locations.

“It rained a lot this year. So it increases the productivity of the plants and also increases the size of several natural populations,” explained Colli.


Pioneer residents of Brasília, capybaras are wild animals and are usually seen in recreational areas near Lake Paranoá. The animal is considered the largest rodent in the world and likes to be close to the water.

The Environmental Military Police say that it receives calls almost every day to rescue capybaras.

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) recently started a survey to control the animal population. According to the researcher José Roberto Moreira, the close contact with the human being is not so dangerous.

The Embrapa specialist says, however, that it is necessary to be careful with the ticks that remain on them. Some transmit spotted fever, which can lead to death if it is not treated in time.

“The number of ticks with spotted fever within the tick population is very small, because spotted fever itself is lethal to the tick. So if the person tries to avoid becoming infected and as soon as he has a tick on his body, he takes the risk is minimal.

Wild animals are increasingly seen in urban areas of DF. [Federal District]

Source: Dezenas de capivaras são flagradas atravessando via de Brasília; veja vídeo


This next article is sadder, but again reflects the folly of randomly locating a bustling burg in the middle of the rainforest. It seems some very young capybaras went swimming without proper safety gear and paid the ultimate price. I think an investigation is warranted for two reasons: The reputation of police forces everywhere is tarnished, but even here we do not expect our officers to offer veterinary diagnoses when there are fatalities. Second, plenty of capybaras swim in chlorinated water but I have not heard of it having fatal consequences. That would be Big News. Further, everyone knows capybaras are great swimmers, but maybe not such great exiters. Resort pools have lovely grand steps for getting in and out, but pools designed for lap swimming do not. If this is a typical public pool, it probably has vertical sides and maybe a couple of ladders. I suspect three capybaras panicked and did not escape. The remaining four are examples of the now-famous “chill” capybaras, but in this case, not terminally chill. They hung out and waited for help.

Once more, I let Google Translate. It’s more amusing than if I subject you to my Duolingo Portuguese.


Filhotes de capivara são resgatados nadando em piscina de casa no DF

Capybara puppies are rescued by swimming in a home pool in DF

Three animals drowned after contact with chlorine, according to the Military Police. Case occurred in Lago Norte.

By G1 DF

03/01/2020 17h43 Updated a year ago

Capybaras are rescued in a pool in DF

Four capybara puppies were rescued (see video above) by swimming in the pool of a residence on ML 9, in Lago Norte, Distrito Federal. Another three animals that were in the place drowned. According to the Military Police, the reason was the contact with chlorine in the pool.

The animals surprised the owner of the house, who called the PM Environmental Battalion on Friday morning (3). At the scene, the police and the woman mobilized to provide first aid to the puppies.

Capybaras swim in a pool in DF – Photo: Military Police / Disclosure

Despite being a species accustomed to water, three of them did not resist. According to PM soldier Erick Silva, these animals have little resistance to exposure to chlorine.

“They have to be rescued almost immediately to prevent them from drowning,” he says.

The soldier also states that, at this time of year, it is common to find capybaras in the pools. According to him, the animals are frightened by the noise of the fires and by the bigger movement in Lake Paranoá, where they usually live in the capital.

Capybaras are released in Lake Paranoá, DF

After the rescue, the capybara chicks were released into the natural habitat (see video above).

Source: Filhotes de capivara são resgatados nadando em piscina de casa no DF; veja vídeos


So there we have it, three capybara “puppies” allegedly died of exposure to chlorine while the other four were completely unaffected. Look at them  swimming like sharks when they are released into the lake in that second video.

If you have personal experience indicating that chlorine is as deadly as this, the ROUS Foundation would like to hear from you. We strive to be aware of any situations of veterinary concern, and post scientific studies to back up any concerns related to capybara health. Contact us at

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