Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


You may have heard of it as a capibara, capybara, capyvara... or you may well never have heard of it at all. The capyvara, as we know it, is the largest known rodent, if I'm not much mistaken and it comes from Brazil. I've been told they can be found scurrying around alongside our riverside highways. Apparently plentiful in the cane fields of Brazil, I've heard they almost a staple diet for the cane cutters. For that matter, I believe they are food for the poor around the highways too.

capyvara babies 1 
Photo credit goes to Zooborns or the Buffalo Zoo

One of my regular pick-me-up sites I visit is Zooborns. The photos and antics of baby wild animals almost always puts a smile on my face. Today, I checked into Zooborns, only to find the capyvara. Yes, Zooborns spells it capybara. It's etymology is somewhat confusing. I think it is only here that we call it a capyvara. My Oxford dictionary sheds a little light on that:
n    noun (plural same or capybaras) a large South American rodent resembling a long-legged guinea pig. [Hydrochaerus hydrochaeris.]
    C17: from Spanish capibara or Portuguese capivara, from Tupi capiuára, from capi 'grass' + uára 'eater'.
Tupi is a local tribe of South American Indians. Many of our local names come from Tupi. Our last street address, both the street and neighbourhood were Tupi names. I love the way they roll off the tongue : )

Here is what Zooborns have to say about these giant rat-things:
"The Buffalo Zoo welcomed three baby capybaras on September 10th. The zoo tells us that the three babies were running around and even swimming the day they were born. The proud capybara parents have had three previous litters for a total of 20 offspring! Capybaras are the world's largest rodent with the largest recorded size at 232 lbs (105 kg)!"

capyvara babies 2

My first encounter with the capyvara was back in 1988. We were visiting the Johannesburg Zoo with Hamish. Ceinwen was bored by most of the animals, but when she spotted the capyvara, she lit up. She absolutely loved those ugly animals. Yep... 'ugly' was my first thought when I saw them. They have these long very yellow, very ugly incisors. Think giant yellow rat teeth. This lot hadn't seen a toothbrush in a while, let me tell ya.

capyvara Ceinwen

Sadly, I have no photos of Ceinwen with the capyvaras, so a photo of Ceinwen and Hamish will have to do.

Later, we returned to the Johannesburg Zoo with Tatiana. I figured, as I'd learnt my lesson with Ceinwen, having taken far too few photos, we'd take many photos with Tat. I was particularly determined to get a photo of her reaction to the capyvara. She was, for her part, particularly unimpressed with them, so no photos were taken. She did, however, enthuse over the ponies, so I got this really odd photo. I doubt she'll be impressed with me posting this photo, but... I claim the Mom's Amendment ; )

capivara tat

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