Capybaras “Invade” Upscale Gated Community in Argentina

Residents of Nordelta, Argentina’s most famous and arguably most beautiful gated community, have been battling hordes of capybaras, giant, adorable rodents that act like they own the place because technically they do…

A 1,500ha suburban development built on the wetlands of the Paraná, the second most important river in South America after the Amazon, Nordelta is home to some 40,000 people, many of whom paid a premium to own a home in what is a stunning location. Positioned just north of Buenos Aires, among picturesque lakes and streams. Nordelta is one of the most coveted places to own a home, but also one of the most contested by environmentalists, who contest its reason for existing. That’s because the wetlands it was built on were the home of various species of plants and animals, including capybaras, who have now returned to reclaim their rightful place.

Photo: Jaime Dantas/Unsplash

Over the last couple of weeks, Argentinian media has been reporting on the capybara “invasion” of Nordelta. Photos and eyewitness reports of packs of the world’s largest rodent roaming the streets and disturbing traffic, or roaming through people’s trash cans, and even attacking their pets have been making headlines in the South American country.

“They not only destroy gardens but their excrement has also become a problem,” one local man told Argentinian newspaper La Nación.


“I heard heartbreaking screams. I looked out the window and saw a capybara with Oreo (a small Schnauzer dog) in its mouth. There were two; We believe they were a male and a female and she was pregnant, so the male defended her, although I don’t know from what because Oreo did nothing threatening. Then I went out and the capybaras escaped to the lake, ” another local woman complained.

Generally, the locals have nothing against capybaras in general, it’s just that the number of herbivorous rodents has gotten a bit out of hand as of late, and they are becoming a nuisance. Many claim that if something isn’t done now, the hundreds of capybaras already living in Nordelta will balloon to several thousand very soon.


However, the so-called invasion of capybaras, or carpinchos, as they are called in Argentina, is seen differently from outside Nordelta. While the wealthy locals affected consider themselves victims in need of assistance, to many they are the invaders and the capybaras the local population reclaiming their land.

“It’s the other way round: Nordelta invaded the ecosystem of the carpinchos,” Argentinian ecologist Enrique Viale said. “Wealthy real-estate developers with government backing have to destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos.”


Because Nordelta is seen as a gated community of the rich and powerful, the capybaras trying to reclaim their natural habitat have become a symbol of class struggle in Argentina, with many on social media rooting for the adorable “peronistas”.

Full-grown capybaras can reach up to one metre in length, stand over 60cm tall and can weigh up to 60 kilos (132lb). They are social animals that live in packs of between 10 and 20 individuals.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , ,