World’s largest rodent found in Paso Robles wastewater

August 17, 2011

A species of the world’s largest rodent, a capybara, was discovered July 22 by Nick Camp at the Paso Robles Wastewater Treatment Plant. [Huffington Post]

Kamp took photographs of the animal, which can grow up to weigh 145 pounds and measure four feet in length, and described what he saw: “It had the body of a pig, but it had a longer nose and head to it.”

He said that the animal seemed calm, and swam with its head above and below the water.

Todd Tognazzini, a lieutenant with the Department of Fish and Game, believes the capybara is an escaped pet, although the animal cannot legally be kept without a special permit, reported UK’s The Telegraph.

Native to South America, capybaras are the largest rodents in the world, and can grow to be as large as a big dog.


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Capybaras are really cool. They used to repulse me because my only exposure was at the SB Zoo where you look down into a big exhibit. From that vantage point it looks just like a very large and creepy rat.

But then I saw a NatGeographic program on the campybaras living in the Bolivian pampas. They are really cool. They are great parents, too. The anaconda, which frequent the same marshy areas that the capybara do, keep the populations down; otherwise, the bolivians would be up to their hips in capybara.

What I don’t remember them specifying is whether the capybara was in the settlement ponds. Some facilities allow plants to grow in them as another way to use up the nutrients in the effluent that settles in the ponds.

A couple of the photos I saw online look like the capybara was in the settlement ponds.

If so, his name should be Crappy Cappy.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [picking up his radio and speaking slowly] Come in, Ray.

Dr Ray Stantz: [excited] Venkman? I saw it, I saw it, I saw it.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [slowly, calmly] It’s right here, Ray. It’s… looking at me.

Dr Ray Stantz: He’s an ugly little spud, isn’t he?

Dr. Peter Venkman: [quickly] I think he can hear you, Ray.

Ghostbusters 1984

Another movie reference:

Remember in “The Princess Bride” when they have to fight with the ROULS (Rodents of Unusually Large Size)?

I bet those were capybara.