Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a family of mammals of the order Rodentia. The body is between 20 and 60 cm long (the largest species, the nutria, is sometimes up to 85 cm long). The pelage consists of coarse, curly hairs and soft underfur. The tail, which measures up to 45 cm long, is naked or lightly pubescent. The incisors are large and covered with orange enamel. The Capromyidae, which are distributed in South America, comprise five genera, embracing 11 species. Two species have been exterminated, and one is close to extermination. The best-known species are the coypu (Myocastor coypus) and the Cuban hutia (Capromys pilorides). Some zoologists include the Capromyidae in the family Octodontidae.