The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Also called chigüire, it is a member of the genus Hydrochoerus, of which the only other extant member is the lesser capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius).
Close relatives are guinea pigs and rock cavies, and it is more distantly related to the agouti, chinchillas, and the coypu.
Native to South America, the capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is a highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals, but usually lives in groups of 10–20 individuals.
The capybara is not a threatened species and is hunted for its meat and hide and also for a grease from its thick fatty skin which is used in the pharmaceutical trade.
Capybaras have adapted well to the urbanization in South America. They can be found in many areas in zoos and parks, and may live for 12 years in captivity.