What’s All The Hype With Capybaras?

Whats All The Hype With Capybaras?

You’re scrolling on TikTok after a long day. You stumble across something you’ve never seen before- large, square front teeth, a spiky brown pelt, and the most relaxed demeanor you’ve ever seen. Is it a hippo with hair? Is it a giant guinea pig? No. It is a capybara. 

Native to South America, the capybara is the biggest rodent in the world. Their scientific name, hydrochoerus, means “Water Pig” in Greek. They are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of their time in aquatic environments. They are closely related to chinchillas, agouti, and the nutria.

The capybara has been dubbed by many as “The Chillest Animal on Earth.” The species has been posted countless times on social media- especially to the song “After Party” by Don Toliver. These videos have amassed millions of views across the internet, likely for the capybaras’ relaxed nature. Capybara are frequently photographed chilling with animals you’d think they should probably be running away from: Dogs, giraffes, and even alligators. They are usually friendly with each other and with humans, often appreciating a good neck rub. You may also see videos of them relaxing in bubbling baths full of citrus fruits like oranges; These are called Yuzu baths, and are taken to heal the capybaras’ skin and relax them. 

Although their lives may seem full of bliss, they have a lot of trouble in the wild; Predators such as snakes, foxes, jaguars and caiman hunt the capybara. They are not endangered, but they are sometimes hunted by humans for their meat. Fret not, my capybara-loving readers- They live in packs of around 40, and therefore have plenty of companionship to get them through the hard days. 

Their fame may end up being short-lived… or perhaps they are here to stay, but one thing is for sure: The biggest rodent in the world has stolen our hearts.