As dusk fell on the tropical wetland crawling with iguanas and small crocodilian caimans, José Ismael Jiménez pointed his harpoon at a rodent about the size of a Labrador retriever. With aim that comes from years of practice, he landed his spear on the back of its head.
But this hunt was not about ridding the country’s southern plains of varmints. It was about what’s for dinner.
The hunter’s only goal was the meat of the capybara, reputed to be the world’s largest rodent. Unlike other South American countries, including Argentina and Brazil, where capybaras are raised mainly for their hides, here the rodent’s meat is a sought-after delicacy, fetching prices almost double those for beef.
In Venezuela, Rodents Can Be A Delicacy (New York Times, March 21, 2007)