Do Humans Hunt Capybara?

Do Humans Eat Capybara

Why Do Humans Hunt Capybara?

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents and are threatened by so many land animals. From large snakes who use them for snacks to four-legged carnivores. But their number one threat remains the two-legged omnivores, humans. Humans hunt them for so many reasons as they do other animals.

The fact that humans need them for other reasons aside from food like perfume, clothes, etc, makes us the number one threat to capybaras. Capybaras are hunted everywhere they live. Even the laws put in place to curb the rate at which they are killed are often disobeyed by locals. The high demand for this rodent has nearly led to its extinction.

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But as a species, they are not endangered. However, at the rate at which they are being hunted, it should not come as a surprise if this changes in the near future.

Below are some of the reasons humans hunt capybaras:

Humans Use Capybaras As Meat – 1

Capybara meat is often described as the best meat in South America. It is very popular and it sells for twice the price of regular beef. The capybara has a distinct taste when compared to that of other rodents. Its meat is so popular that it has achieved a status in Venezuela similar to that of turkey. Before Easter, there is a seasonal hunt and during thanksgiving, there are some who prefer to feast with capybara than the usual turkey.

Locals say its distinct taste bears a resemblance to a mixture of fish and pork. Venezuelan Catholics insist that the rodent is more akin to fish than meat. So that they can eat it during the lent period when the Catholic Church forbids meat consumption.

Hunters nearly wiped out the entire population of capybaras in Venezuela if not for the hunting limit imposed by the authorities. Similar cases have also been recorded in other countries in South America. Professor Rexford Lord of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania detailed in his book that the capybara meat is so delicious.

It can be likened to rabbit or fish but this is based on how it is prepared. Even the most prominent citizens in Venezuela enjoy it. Not minding the fact that it eats its own feces. Although it is more popular in the rural areas than in the urban.

Capybara Skin Can Be Use In Perfume Production – 2

In countries like Brazil, the capybara is hunted for its skin because there is a special fatty substance that covers its hair and that substance is used in perfume production.

Capybaras Are Useful In Leather Production – 3

The soft hides of the capybara are used to produce one of the best leather brands in the market. The “carpincho” leather. This is a very popular and luxurious leather and it is highly recommended by experts if you are hoping to purchase exotic leathers. Let me let you in on the origins and features of this wonderful material.

The carpincho leather is often likened to peccary leather because they are mostly used to produce gloves and they share about the same level of desirability. Carpincho is the Portuguese name for capybara. Capybara is a Spanish name but it is more popular in English-speaking countries.

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Even in some countries where it is illegal to hunt capybara farmers breed them on farms and their certified hides are legally used to produce leather. Some of the best carpincho leather grades are found in Argentina. The resulting leather is soft when touched but it is very strong and durable.

Its natural color is rust-brown or oxide. It may appear with some designs or marks to enhance its beauty. Some of these weren’t put there by the manufacturers but by the capybaras when they fought with themselves. Anyways, it still helps to enhance the beauty of the product.

The carpincho leather is used to produce gloves, wallets, bags, belts, boots, and other clothing materials. The carpincho leather will surely add beauty to your overall outfit and it will even get comfier as years go by. But there is a downside to this beauty.

It should not be allowed to get wet because and if it does it should be left to dry in a cool place. This material was not made to be exposed to elements like water. Another disadvantage is the price of the product, it is known to be expensive and this should not come as a surprise seeing that it has a special place in the market.

Moreover, the leather does not put the owner through stress in terms of maintenance. Just a little cleaning and polishing will keep it looking new for a very long time. In terms of comparison only the Peccary, Elk leather, Reindeer, Chamois, and Cabretta leather comes close because they all bear similar quality.

Capybaras Are Used For Oil Production – 4

Traditional South Americans use capybara oil as medicine to heal wounds. Although there have been studies to investigate the effects of this oil on injuries in smaller life forms like rats. It has not been scientifically proven that this oil helps wounds heal faster.

The local South Americans apply this oil on all kinds of skin traumas from, bruises to cuts to inflammations. There are studies that claim there is a significant improvement when this natural product is applied to affected areas. Scientists also believe that the oil extracted from capybara fats can be used to reduce cholesterol levels in rats.

In Paraguay, it is used as a tonic for children because it helps relieve symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and rheumatism. But like I said before, none of these have been scientifically proven so any user should proceed with caution. It might have diverse effects on the person. Even though there have been no cases of negative outcomes recorded.

Is Capybara Meat Healthy For Consumption.

Yes it is and it is very rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acid and it is also low in cholesterol and fat. A study finds that capybaras that were raised in habitats similar to the natural ones they had were said to contain low levels of saturated fatty acids.

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Other qualities of capybara meat such as high emulsification mean that it will be able to compete with pork in the market. It is very popular in Venezuela and at least 400 tons are sold every year because of the high demand for it during the festive season. Mr. Saul Gutierrez, a biologist in Venezuela recommends capybara meat as a great alternative to red meat for those meat lovers who watch their cholesterol levels.

Do Humans Eat Capybara?

Yes in most South American countries. Humans hunt capybara for food and other reasons but mostly for food.
In Venezuela, it has earned a place in the market and is sold for twice the price of the normal beef. It is considered a delicacy and it has its own season.

Not minding the fact that the capybara is an animal with a good escape mechanism and this makes it very hard to catch. Hunters embrace the challenge willingly because it is more rewarding.

A professor from the United States says the capybara should be exported, foreigners will love it. He can imagine hot dogs, sausages, and other snacks being produced with capybara meat and them gaining popularity because of it.

In Venezuela, the demand for capybara meat got so high that hunters nearly wiped out the entire population of the rodents in the country. Several laws were put in place to try and curb the killings but locals still disobey the law on a daily.

Researchers conclude that there are just about one hundred thousand capybaras remaining in the country. Even the president has promoted the capybara delicacy on television before. In some other countries like Canada, United Kingdom, etc. The sale and consumption of capybara meat may never be accepted because most people will not welcome the thought of having a rodent on their diner plate. But if they give it a try, I’m certain they will love it.

What Does Capybara Meat Taste Like?

Locals in Venezuela say it tastes like fish and pork at the same time depending on the preparation. Many consumers confirm that it tastes more like fish than meat because it spends most of its time in the water. Although merely looking at it on a saucer, it bears a stunning resemblance to red meat.

It is quite difficult to determine the taste of the capybara because it is always shredded, grilled, dried, or prepared with salt. Different methods affect the taste of the meat. For example in Venezuela where it is considered a delicacy, they eat salt-cured capybara during festive seasons. In Latin capybara is referred to as “Hydrochoerus” which means water pig because capybara is just seasoned pork to them.

Which Countries Eat Capybara?

Capybara is mostly consumed by South Americans. From Argentina to Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, to the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

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They all eat capybaras but the rodent delicacy is most popular in Venezuela. It had gained popularity to the extent that it competes with turkey during festive seasons. Although it is more consumed in rural areas than in urban. There are recorded cases of when the animal was nearly wiped out and currently, there are no more than a few hundred thousand in the country.

Even during lent (when the Catholic Church forbids meat) they have convinced themselves that it is mostly fish than meat just so they can eat it during Lent. There are still some rich folks that splurge good cash to have it on their plates. Even the local laws that have been put in place to stop excessive hunting have not been effective, hunters still go the extra mile to hunt capybaras illegally because of their meat.

Can You Eat Capybara During Lent?

Yes, you can. Legend has it that a few hundred years ago, the capybara meat was so desired among the Catholics in Venezuela. So they wrote a letter to the Pope to classify the capybara as fish because it has a similar taste to fish and pork and it spends most of its time in the water. During a forty-day period in lent meat consumption is prohibited every Friday in Catholic homes.

Although during the time that this rule was passed, much research was not done in the capybara and there was no access to vast information about the rodent as there is now. But even so, the animal doesn’t look like a fish, a drunk man could describe it as a smaller hippopotamus or a large guinea pig but certainly not a species of fish.

These Catholics just found a way to continue eating meat during lent. The funny part is that capybaras are still served as fish in most Catholic homes and Entries during lent. Given the vast information about this mammal in every corner of the internet.

It depends on the individual, their belief, and how a devotee of a Catholic they are. There are other alternatives to meat that you can eat during lent but if you must. You can eat it during lent, not that it is right. Capybara is meat.

Do Catholics Consider Capybara As Fish?

On a large scale, they do. They consider capybara as fish and they consume it during lent seasons. Ever since the Pope classified it as fish hundreds of years ago. Numerous Catholics have used that as a “go-ahead order” to consume it during lent seasons. Only those who are truly devoted and have ample knowledge about capybaras abstain from it during lent seasons. Catholics classified the capybara as fish for these two reasons.

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The Amphibious Lifestyle Of The Capybara – 1

Capybaras are semi-aquatic. They love to swim and they can even hold their breaths for close to five minutes. They can swim for as long as they like as long as their heads are held up a bit above the water so that they can breathe, they can even sleep in the water. This way of life led the pope to classify them as fish in the 1800s.

Its Distinct Taste – 2

Many locals, as well as foreigners and scientists, have confirmed that the capybara tastes like fish. Not entirely, but with a little touch of pork. It is kind of hard to explain. But research shows that different methods of preparation affect the taste of the capybara. Its distinct taste was also a contributing factor.


I hope this article was worth your time and you were able to find answers to all the burning questions in your mind.
Let me give you some important pointers before I call it a wrap.

  • Humans hunt capybaras primarily for their meat.
  • Catholics consume capybara during lent because the Pope classified it as fish in the 1800s.
  • Soft capybara hides are used to manufacture one of the best leather brands in the market (the carpincho leather)
  • Capybara can sleep in water and they can stay underwater for up to four minutes.
  • Capybara meat is a great alternative for meat lovers who are conscious of cholesterol

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