Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochoeris, also known as water pig/hog or water cavy, belongs with the guinea pig to the family Caviidae. This is the largest living rodent, indeed the size of a pig, 120 cm (48") long (not counting the tail which is either missing or of negligible size). The range of the capybara is from Panama to Paraguay; it is usually found living in troops or family groups, in the vicinity of rivers, lakes, or marshes. It can swim considerable distances under water. It is hunted both on land and water, and can be tamed, but has not yet been domesticated except on an experimental basis.