posted on 2/28/2023 1:39 PM
(credit: Minervino Júnior/CB/DAPress)
Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. Native to South America, these animals are herbivores and have developed a strong relationship with water, where predators hide and use for reproduction. These rodents have webbing between their toes that help them swim. However, what many don’t know is that capybaras were considered fish for a long time by the Vatican.
According to the portal IFLScience, rodents were classified as such from 1784 so that Christians could feed on these animals in Lent. This period, in the Christian tradition, precedes Easter and the consumption of red meat and chicken is prohibited, and it is common to replace it with fish on Good Friday.
Beavers were also classified as fish. “While most people today think the restriction is about eating meat, the dietary restriction was not about mammals and birds versus fish, but about land versus water. Thus, other animals that spent time in water qualified as aquatic. and could be eaten in Lent”, explained historian Dolly Jorgensen, in her personal blog of the same name.
Capybaras are semiaquatic animals and feed on grass, herbs and aquatic vegetation. The gestation period of these animals is 5 months and, on average, 5 young are born. Males reach sexual maturity between 15 and 24 months of age, while females reach maturity between 10 and 12 months of age.
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