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MLA Full: "The Biggest Rodent!" YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 5 July 2018,
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APA Full: SciShow Kids. (2018, July 5). The Biggest Rodent! [Video]. YouTube.
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Looks like you’re exactly 84 centimeters tall, Squeaks!

Squeaks and I have been measuring ourselves! I’m about the usual size for a human grown-up, and he’s about the usual size for a robot rat.

Rats are pretty small, and so are a lot of the animals like it, called rodents. Mice, rats, guinea pigs, squirrels, and chipmunks are all part of the rodent family. … But not all of them! Meet the capybara – the biggest rodent in the world!

It’s a rodent of unusual size! Capybaras weigh a lot more than Squeaks. They can weigh up to 65 kilograms – about as much as a grown-up human!

They can also be over a meter long! And size is not the only thing that’s unusual about the capybara. They have big, barrel-like bodies, with long, shaggy hair, no tail, and webbing in their toes.

They have an unusual way of eating, too! They chew from side to side, like a camel – not up and down, like humans. They can also regurgitate their food – that’s a fancy word for bringing food back up again after it’s swallowed.

When humans like us regurgitate our food, it usually means we’re sick, or that something’s wrong. But some animals, like cows and goats, regurgitate their food to give them a second chance to break it down by chewing it. Since capybaras eat a lot of tough plants, a little extra chewing makes their food easier to digest, or break down once it’s inside their bodies.

That makes their body’s job a little easier. Just like other animals in the rodent family, capybaras have long, sharp front teeth that never stop growing! Eating all those plants wears their teeth down, so their teeth help them out by keepin’ on growing.

And to keep their teeth from getting too long, they trim them down by chewing on plants. And boy, do they eat a lot of plants. A capybara can eat almost 4 kilograms of grass in one day!

And capybaras don’t just eat grass and other plants. They also eat … their own poop. That would make animals like humans very sick, but for capybaras, it’s just another digestion trick.

Their poop has nutrients they need to help them digest all that grass they eat. It sounds kind of unusual to me. And it makes me glad I’m not a capybara!

Capybaras need water to survive, and not just for drinking! They live next to bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, and ponds. They eat plants that grow near water.

And they spend a lot of their time not just next to water, but in it! Squeaks does love swimming. But most rodents like to live on dry land.

Not capybaras, though! They seem just as comfortable hanging out in water as they are on land! It helps that capybaras have partly webbed feet, kind of like a duck.

Which makes them excellent swimmers, and sometimes even divers! And their eyes, ears, and nostrils are all on the top of their heads, so they can keep most of their body below the water and still breathe. Spending time in the water is super useful for them.

When the weather gets hot, capybaras wallow in the water to keep cool. Plus, they can hide underwater to avoid predators, who may try to hunt and eat them. They can even press their ears down against their heads to keep the water out, and they can stay underwater for up to five minutes.

That’s a lot longer than I can stay underwater! Living in groups is also very important to capybaras. They all cooperate to take care of each other.

They take care of all the baby capybaras in the group together. And when one capybara notices a predator coming, it’ll make barking sounds to warn the rest of the group, which sends the whole group into the water to hide and stay safe. Capybaras are usually calm and gentle, which is why you’ll sometimes see other animals using them as a comfy place to sit!

Some birds like to sit on a capybara, and eat the insects hiding in the grass they eat – or even eat insects right out of the capybara’s hair! Capybara hair is rough, not soft like a dog’s fur, so while a capybara might let you pet it … you might not enjoy it all that much. You also might not enjoy their big, sharp front teeth, which they use for playing.

But they’re pretty amazing animals to watch from a distance. Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and don’t forget to check us out on the YouTube Kids app.

We’ll see you next time, here at the Fort!