The wide variety of animals that I can be confused with is a constant source of amazement to me. How could you humans mistake a cute animal like a capybara with some of these–let’s call them visually challenged–animals? I don’t get it. Nevertheless, it does happen and I am here to set the record straight. I am NOT a peccary or javelina or skunk hog or whatever other name you want to call these animals.
I’m not saying peccaries aren’t cute. They have a certain charm about them. But look at that nose! Now look at the photo of my nose.
Do they look anything alike? No.
Here are some other ways we are different:
- Peccaries have hooves (they are in the group with even-toed hoofed animals), capybaras have webbed feet.
- Peccaries are omnivores, capybaras are herbivores
- Peccaries have tusks, capybaras have self-sharpening incisors
- Peccaries live from the American Southwest, through Central America and South America, capybaras are restricted to southern Panama and eastern South America.
- Peccaries top out at around 90 lbs, that would be a puny capybara
- Groups of peccaries sometimes attack and kill humans, capybaras are sweet, docile animals
- Peccaries have an unpleasant odor from a scent gland on their back, capybaras have a nose scent gland whose odor is not noticeable by humans
- Peccaries can run up to 20 mph, no one bothers to clock capybaras because we are so slow
- Peccaries live up to 24 years, capybaras, sadly, live only 12-14 years
Here are some ways we are similar:
- Our overall body shape is long and narrow
- We overlap through much of our South American ranges
- We both have very coarse hair
- We are about the same length and height even though capys weigh more
- We both have small ears (although capy ears are much cuter)
- Jaguars, crocodiles and caiman will eat capybars or peccaries
I hope that clears up any confusion you have had on this topic. Do not feel too badly, lots of people make this mistake. But look again at the nose on that peccary and my nose. Seriously, don’t confuse us again.