Florida is home to a lot of things – a lot of things that don’t belong there at all. From peacocks raiding trash cans to African land snails that eat the stucco off the outside of homes, people who make the Sunshine State their home see their fair share of invasive species. And now a new one has been spotted: The Capybara.
What is a Capybara?
A capybara is basically a giant rodent. Think rodents of unusual size (ROUS) from The Princess Bride that have mated with guinea pigs and you have the capybara, able to reach up to 100 pounds and be roughly the same height as an English mastiff. All they need to set up shop is some food and some mates and they may just become a permanent Florida resident.
They’ve been spotted in Jacksonville and Gainesville, and there’s no reason to think they’re not going to spread even further once they’ve gotten established. What works in their favor, unlike other non-native species in Florida, is they are actually kind of cute and cuddly looking. So, people may feed them, making it easier for them to reproduce and make a real home.
So, if you live in Florida, be on the lookout for the capybara. They may look cute, which is more than can be said for the Nile crocodile, but they’re pests nonetheless!