scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world

average height 1.5 - 2 ft

average weight 60 - 175 lb

average length 3.5 - 4.5 ft

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Closely related to: guinea pigs, rock cavies, and bunny rabbits.

Distantly related to: agouti, chinchillas, and the coypu.

Background information

  • Capybaras are from South America and live in the forest near water.
  • Capybaras are mammals and on average live from 5-10 years
  • Capybaras are herbivores and mainly eat aquatic plants and grasses.
  • Usually the females have 5 babies in a litter.
  • There gestation period is usually 15-18 weeks.
  • Capybaras mature by 15 months
  • Capybaras main predator are snakes along with wildcats

Interesting Facts

  • In a family of capybaras there is generally one male and one or more females along with their children.
  • Males without a family stay together in packs.
  • Capybaras search all day for food. There food is typically located long distances away. After they find their food source they return back to the same spot they were previously, before they searched for food.
  • Capybaras don't walk instead they hop, but they can also run very fast.
  • Compared to other rodents, capybaras only have one color of fur, brown!
  • Capybaras communicate with each other using different sounds including whistles, barks, grunts and squeals.

Water Hogs

Capybaras are known as water hogs or pigs because they are excellent swimmers. Because of this, they are commonly found near swamps or water holes. This helps them stay cool in humid conditions. Their eyes and ears are placed high on their head so they can look and hear easily while swimming. They also have webbed toes and fingers to allow them to paddle better when swimming. In an emergency, such as hiding from prey, they can stay under water for several minutes. In other words capybaras were made to swim! However, in seasons of drought and when water is scarce, capybaras gather together amongst the only water source available and wait for rain. There might be up to 50 capybaras around one muddy puddle. Once the rain comes, they will break off into smaller groups. Capybaras can sleep under water, and they swim almost like a dog. They keep their head up while they paddle using their legs which consist of four webbed toes in the front, and three webbed toes in the back. These features make capybaras the perfect semi-aquatic rodent!
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Their teeth keep growing

Capybaras have huge incisors! Their teeth constantly grow! In order to take care of their teeth, capybaras chew on anything they can. This means if you have a capybara as a pet, your furniture and other household objects might be gnawed on. Their two front teeth can get worn down through chewing on hard substances. In the wild usually they chew on bark and tough plants. Capybaras take immutable care for their teeth because they like keeping them small.
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Pets 101- Capybaras