capybara


capybara
/kap'euh bahr"euh/, n.
a South American tailless rodent, Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, living along the banks of rivers and lakes, having partly webbed feet: the largest living rodent.
Also, capibara.
[1765-75; < NL < Pg capibara < Tupi]

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Semiaquatic rodent (Hydrochoerus hyrdrochaeris) of Central and South America.

Classified as the only species in its family, it is related to the cavy and the guinea pig. Capybaras are the largest living rodents, growing as large as 50 in. (1.25 m) long and weighing 110 lbs (50 kg) or more. They are sparsely haired and brownish, with a blunt snout, short legs, small ears, and almost no tail. Capybaras are shy and associate in groups along the banks of lakes and rivers. Herbivorous, they can become pests when they eat cultivated melons, grain, and squash. They swim and dive readily and commonly enter water to elude predators.

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rodent
also called  carpincho  or  water hog 

      the largest living rodent, a semiaquatic mammal of Central and South America. The capybara is the sole member of the family Hydrochoeridae, but it resembles the cavy and guinea pig of the family Caviidae.

      South American capybaras may be 1.25 metres (4 feet) long and weigh 66 kg (145 pounds) or more; Panamanian capybaras are smaller and weigh about 27 kg. Capybaras are short-haired, brownish rodents, with blunt snouts, short legs, small ears, and almost no tail. They are shy and associate in groups along the banks of lakes and rivers. They normally feed in the morning and evening and spend most of the day resting under cover along the banks. They are vegetarian and in cultivated areas sometimes become pests by eating melons, grain, and squash. They swim and dive readily and commonly enter water to elude predators such as jaguars (jaguar) and anacondas (anaconda). Capybaras are edible and in Venezuela are ranched for meat. The female bears a single litter of three to eight young each year; gestation takes about 100 to 110 days.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • capybara — ► NOUN (pl. same or capybaras) ▪ a large South American rodent resembling a long legged guinea pig. ORIGIN Spanish capibara or Portuguese capivara, from an American Indian word meaning «grass eater» …   English terms dictionary

  • capybara — [kap΄i bä′rə] n. [Port capibara < Tupí kapigwara, lit., one who eats grass] any of a family (Hydrochoeridae) of tailless, partially web footed, South American rodents found in and around lakes and streams: the largest extant rodent, reaching a …   English World dictionary

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