Capybara | Facts & Information

# Capybara | Facts & Information

Capybara | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Capybara

It is closely related to agouti, chinchillas and guinea pigs. What's really interesting is that this little animal looks strikingly like Mr. Spock's character from Star Trek.

Read More on Capybara


The Capybara is a fascinating animal that lives in South America, being the largest rodent in the world. With a height of approximately 60 centimeters and a weight of up to 70 kilograms, the Capybara is an impressive creature and extremely well adapted to its aquatic habitat.

Belonging to the Caviidae family, the Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, where it lives near watercourses, lakes, and swamps. Unlike other rodents, the Capybara prefers life in the water and has exceptional swimming and diving abilities. These animals can stay underwater for up to five minutes, in a similar manner to hippos.

The Capybara has a thick and water-resistant brown fur, which provides excellent protection against the elements and attacks from wild animals. Another interesting aspect about the Capybara is that it has a massive body, similar to a pig, with short and powerful legs adapted for swimming and navigating through floodplains.

One remarkable aspect regarding the Capybara is their complex social behavior and life within a colony or group. They live in cohorts consisting of around 10-20 individuals, primarily composed of a dominant male, a few females, and their offspring. These groups are tightly knit and spend a lot of time together, being highly sociable among group members.

Members of a Capybara colony help each other with feeding, navigating in the water, and protection against predators. This social behavior is uncommon among rodents and constitutes a unique aspect in the animal world. Capybaras communicate with each other through various sounds and body movements, signaling dangers or expressing affection and gratitude among group members.

Another remarkable characteristic of the Capybara is their predominantly vegetarian diet. They are herbivores and feed on a variety of plants, such as grass, stems, leaves, and fruits. To meet their nutritional needs, Capybaras have to consume significant amounts of vegetation, up to 3-3.5 kilograms every day. This large appetite is necessary to compensate for nutritional losses due to incomplete digestion of plant matter.

Although Capybaras are relatively tolerant and gentle animals, they can resort to defense when they feel threatened. They can emit loud sounds and vocalize through the grinding of their teeth to intimidate potential predators. Additionally, the Capybara has a sharp claw on each foot, which can be used for defense. However, Capybaras usually avoid direct confrontations with predators and prefer to flee and hide in the water.

Among the main predators of the Capybara are the jaguar, anaconda, and caiman. These predators often face resistance from the group of Capybaras, increasing the chances for individuals to escape with their lives against attacks. However, sometimes isolated or weakened individuals can fall victim to predators.

In conclusion, the Capybara is a fascinating and unique animal, well adapted to its aquatic habitat in South America. With its complex social behavior and extraordinary adaptation to the aquatic environment, the Capybara is certainly one of nature's most remarkable and interesting creatures.









Also known as chigwire, carpincho, water giant guinea pig or simply water pig, capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the world's largest living rodent.

This semi-aquatic rodent lives in swamps, ponds, but also in forests, near ponds, lakes and rivers. It can be found in Central and South America.

The name capybara comes from the Guarani dialect, the language of a South American population, and translates as "master of the grass". Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris in Greek means "water pig".

Although now extinct, there was once a larger capybara species known scientifically as Neochoerus pinckneyi.

The fossils of other rodents that were 8 times the size of the modern capybara, were unofficially referred to as "capybars", but in reality they were dinomids related to pacarana. There is also a "smaller" capybara, Hydrochoerus isthmius.

Capybara lives on high meadows near rivers, swamps and lakes in the tropical regions of South America (Colombia, Venezuela, the two Guianas, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Suriname, northeastern Argentina and Uruguay) and Panama.

It is never found far from water courses and is an excellent swimmer who often has to plunge into the water to escape predators. They roam the places where they live about 10-20 hectares.

Feeding Capybara

Capybars are herbivorous mammals; they feed on aquatic plants, various vegetables, fruits and cereals. After they finish eating, the capybara will lie in the sun on the waterfront, relaxing.

Like all rodents, the two front teeth (incisors) continue to grow throughout the animal's life, so in order to chop its teeth, the capybara must gnaw and chew.

Capybara has a highly efficient digestive system that supports the animal while 75% of its diet comprises only 3-6 plant species. A capybara can consume up to 2.7-3.6 kg of vegetables per day.

Like guinea pigs, capybars are coprophagous animals, which means that they consume their own feces as a source of intestinal bacterial flora, to help digest the cellulose in the grass that is part of their normal diet, as well as to extract the maximum amount of protein from their food.

In addition, they can regurgitate their food to chew it again, a situation similar to that found in cows that chew their ruminants. This "route" is not followed every day.Capybara Behavior

The capybara is a gentle creature that will reproduce a low-pitched sound when it is happy.

An excellent swimmer, capybara dives and can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes without coming to the surface. If this is the case, the capybara can even sleep underwater, only with its nostrils on the surface of the water.

During midday, as ambient temperatures rise, the capybara will bask in the water to cool off and then bask in the late afternoon and early evening. They usually sleep a little during the day.

A sociable animal, the capybara is the only rodent that lives in small "flocks", consisting of 10-20 individuals, of which a dominant male (who will have a developed odorant gland in the nose used to spread its smell on the grasses present in its living territory) with 2-3 females with their young.

Capybars communicate through a combination of different sounds and odorous substances. Capybars are very vocal, emitting torsos (similar to those found in felines) and alarm barking, hissing, crackling, shrill screams, guitars and grunts.

Appearance Capybara

Capybars have cumbersome, barrel-shaped bodies, devoid of a tail. The head of the capybara is developed both in length and in width and ends with a blunt snout, similar to that of a horse and on the opposite side, with a short and thick neck. The ears are small.

Capybara has small black eyes, located near the top of the head. The broad jaws bear the 20 teeth of the capybara, the front ones (incisors) having continuous growth.

The forelimbs are shorter than the hind ones and end with fingers (4 at the front and 3 at the back) joined by an InterDigital membrane (similar to duck paws), very helpful when swimming.

Each finger ends with a claw in the form of a hoof (or onglon). The capybara's fur consists of thin, rough and reddish brown hairs on the dorsal areas and yellowish brown on the ventral areas (abdomen), which dry quickly.

Adult capybara can reach a length of up to 130 cm and weigh about 45-65 kg. Females are a bit more full-bodied than males. The height of the capybara is around 50 cm.

Capybara Breeding

Capybara reach sexual maturity around the age of 18-22 months and Mate only when living conditions are perfect, respectively, once a year (in the case of the population of Brazil) or year-round (in Venezuela and Colombia). The rainy season (April-May) marks the peak of the mating season. The male follows the female and mounts her as she reaches the water.

The capybara gestation period is about 130-150 days. Calving takes place on land, and the female re-joins the group within a few hours of birth. When they are able to move, the Cubs will also join the group. Females give birth from one to eight cubs (on average, 4). Newborns weigh around 1 kg; they are covered with hair and can see from birth.

Within about a week of birth, the Cubs may eat grass, but will continue to suck – both from their own mother and from the other lactating females in the group – until they are weaned around 16 weeks of age.

When they join the group of their mothers, the Cubs will form a group of their own within the family. The rainy season, respectively, from April to May, marks the peak of the mating season.

As with other rodents, capybar's incisors grow continuously to compensate for their constant blunting from eating herbs; their molars also have continuous growth.

When fully developed, the capybara will have fur consisting of rough hairs that are arranged here and there on its skin, making this animal prone to sunburn and sunstroke. To prevent these problems, they roll through the mud to protect their skin from the sun.

Capybara is hunted by jaguars, caimans, ocelots, harpy eagles, large snakes (such as anaconda), as well as humans (who eat capybara).

When she feels threatened, the capybara enters the water making use of her skills as a strong swimmer. In terms of human interaction, capybars are gentle and will usually allow humans to caress and feed them from the palm of their hand.

Also, in areas where capybars live, they are hunted by the natives for their skins and meat. Their meat is said to resemble and taste similar to pork. Capybara meat is left to rumble and salt, then it is transited and seasoned.

Considered a delicacy, capybara meat is often served with rice and bananas.

Capybara populations are considered stable in almost all of its geographical area, but hunting in certain regions has drastically reduced their numbers.

The life expectancy of capybara is 8-10 years in captivity. In the Wild, very few capybars reach this age due to their prey animals.

#Photo Gallery of Capybara

More Capybara images!

Uncover fascinating facts about Capybara - from its behavior to habitat and diet. Explore our comprehensive guide to learn more!

Capybara | Facts & InformationCapybara | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Capybara