Who Discovered Capybara?

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The capybara, also known as the agouti or aguará in its native South America, is a large rodent that lives in tropical forests and grasslands. An adult capybara can weigh up to 74 pounds (33 kilograms), and they are the largest living rodents in the world. Like all rodents, capybaras have chew teeth that they use to eat termites and other wood-loving insects.
The first Europeans to see capybaras were Amerindians who called them guariba. They probably encountered capybaras when they followed riverbanks looking for food or other necessities. The first European to describe the species, however, was the German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix in 1824. He observed a small population of these animals in Brazil’s Pantanal region, but he believed they might be an entirely new species—one whose habits might help explain why so many South American mammals had evolved into some of the most arboreal species on Earth.

When Was the First Capybara Discovered?

The first capybara to be described as a new species was Johann Baptist von Spix in 1824.

Where Did Capybara Originate From?

Capybaras are native to South America, including Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. They can be found in a number of countries on the continent, but they are not native to Canada or the United States.
The capybara is believed to have originated from the guariba, which was one of many species that evolved from South American deer-like animals called capridae. These animals were similar in size to modern-day deer with long tails and antlers.

How Did Capybaras Get to America?

The first capybaras came to North America in 1828 after the ship Tampa, captained by John S. Williams sailed down the River Amazon. They were taken on board and the captain sold them to a local businessman. Some of these animals escaped and went on to populate the wilds of Florida. One, called “Old Brown Capybara,” was killed in December 1835.
In 1854, two more capybaras were imported into New York from Cuba, although that doesn’t appear to have been their intended destination as they were described as being “in sad condition”. The animals soon died at the dockside. In 1856, one was sent to Europe for exhibition and then another was released by a private collector in Queens County, New York. That individual also released ten other exotic animals that had been found near Charleston harbor—alligators, boa constrictors, all variety of snakes and birds—triggering speculation that he may have been involved with smuggling them into the country.
Capybaras are most commonly found in western parts of North America and Central America where they are frequently used as living models for works of art or photography because they are so photogenic!

How Many Capybaras Are Left in the World?

While capybaras are still found in South America, they have been hunted to extinction in three countries: Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. The last wild capybara was seen in the Colombian Amazon in 1917. Today, there are only two populations of captive capybaras left—both in zoos.

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Paul Lirr

Paul Lirr

Hi, my name is Paul Lirr. I'm a 35-year-old and lives with my girlfriend for 5 years.
I'm originally from Manchester, England, but I've been living in Sydney, Australia, for the last few years. Which led me straight to the sweetest hand I have ever met.
The hands of the Capybara. Yes, I'm a proud Capybara lover.

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