I read somewhere that they are as big as St Bernard dogs.... that is an exaggeration. I would say they grow up to 4' long and approx. 2'+ at the withers. I believe the females are slightly larger and can grow in excess of 100 lb., maybe 150 lbs., so they would dwarf the coypu to whom they are vaguely related. They tend to scamper along, but never seen them at full pelt. They would never outrun a jaguar but they do swim well, so they might do better in the water.
Yes, Eleanor they are a little startling when you first see one, but they are friendly creatures and you will find them wandering in the grounds of your lodge; you can get quite close to them. It's probably best to see your first capybara in broad daylight rather than night time, or else you may think you are having a nightmare....' rats as big as pussycats' is the old song, but these are many times the size of a pussy cat !!
This one was part of a big family with his extended family, the Red Wattled Lapwing (who seem to get everywhere), helping out with his personal hygiene....
Whilst the Pantanal is home to a vast number of different animals, the Jaguar is the most sought after by wildlife enthusiasts. It is possible to get fairly close if they will allow, but generally most shots are between 30 - 80 yds away. Binoculars are essential and/or a camera with a substantial zoom..... 400mm is ideal.
This young lady was caught late afternoon going for a drink.... probably 50-60 yds away
Not everyone's cup of tea, but you will see the occasional lizard..... this one was quite large, about 4-5 foot long nose to tail and quite a handsome beast in his own way. He was quite put out being disturbed in his siesta.
I think it's a flower..... no teeth that stick out like that thank goodness. He is a bit scary anyway. When he spotted us, he didn't run away immediately, but stopped and stared. Although he's omnivorous, he probably wouldn't like the taste of humans.
Back to feathered friends.... this is an Anhinga. He is a great fisherman, and that beak really is sharp and strong. He is lightning fast and actually spears his prey.... sadly he did not catch anything whilst we were watching him, but it is a fantastic sight.