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People Are Surprised To Learn That Capybaras Can Swim Majestically Underwater

They move with much more grace underwater than they ever show on land.

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockSep 19 2022, 12:00 UTC
A large, hairy capybara looking majestic in the sunset.
Turns out capybara can be even more majestic. Image credit: Ondrej Prosicky/shutterstock.com

Capybaras, everybody's favorite giant rodent, are going viral on the Internet after a video showing off their superb swimming abilities has racked up over 100,000 likes. The video shows the animal bobbing its way underwater with a lot more grace than they tend to show on land.

Capybaras are the world's largest rodents and are native to South America. Though you might not think it because of their shape, capybaras are excellent swimmers and appear to enjoy time in the water. They can hold their breath underwater for around five minutes, and often take naps in water or along riverbanks to stay cool. They have webbed feet and streamlined facial features, helping them to swim quickly away from potential predators underwater.  

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Once they have learned to swim, of course.


A study on Capybaras even looked into whether they enjoy hot baths. They appear to, flocking to hot baths placed out for them in a Japanese zoo, but the study published in Nature took a close look at their facial expressions to try and actually quantify how much they liked their nice, relaxing baths. They found that they enjoyed them very much indeed, thank you. They even found the baths helped with their skin conditions, and they retained the heat well afterward.

"The results of our study showed that the eye score was useful for Capybaras as an indicator of comfortable status," the authors wrote, "though there were no significant changes in ear position."


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