New Giant Rodent Invades Florida
Bob McNally 09.07.16
As if Florida doesn’t have enough trouble with “invasive species” such as pythons, boas, iguanas, walking catfish, and many other species, now non-native mega-rodents are being found in the Sunshine State, according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
First discovered in Alachua County 16 years ago, capybaras have now been documented in the state and are believed by some wildlife biologists that they may soon create serious problems because they are ideally suited to Florida’s warm, humid, watery environment.
Weighing up to 150 pounds, and about the size of a full-grown Labrador retriever, capybaras thrive in the water and can stay submerged for up to 5 minutes without surfacing for air. The web-footed rodent is native to South America, feast on water plants, and can multiply quickly.
Like most of the 500 invasive, non-native species that have been documented in Florida, exotic pet owners are believed to have released capybaras into the Sunshine State.
Fortunately, in spite of their large size capybaras are not aggressive nor pose a direct danger to humans.