Status Least Concern
Size Head-body length: 100-130cm; shoulder height: up to 50cm
Gestation 149-156 days
Life span Up to 12 years
Capybaras mostly eat grasses, but will also eat aquatic plants, grains, melons and squashes.
Capybaras are found in most of South America east of the Andes. They live in a variety of habitats close to water, including marshes, estuaries, and in dense vegetation alongside rivers, lakes, ponds and streams.
Young capybaras are able to follow their mother and can eat grass very soon after being born. They are weaned by 16 weeks of age. Capybaras live in family groups of between 2 and 20 individuals, with one male who is dominant and able to mate with the females.
Capybaras, especially young ones, are preyed upon by many large predators including anacondas, caimans, jaguars and humans. Capybaras always remain alert for predators whilst grazing, and they will give a bark if they spot a threat. Capybaras are strong swimmers, and if they are chased they will head towards water and try to swim to safety.
The main threat faced by capybaras is hunting for meat and leather, although there are now some commercial capybara farms which have reduced the demand for capybaras caught in the wild. Capybaras are widely distributed and common in many places, and are found in many protected areas.
Capybaras are the world’s largest living rodent.
Capybaras are excellent swimmers. When they swim only their nostrils, eyes and ears are above the surface. They sometimes hide in floating vegetation, with only their nostrils above the water.
These animals are able to dive and swim completely underwater.
Capybaras are commonly found in groups of up to 20, but as many as 64 have been seen together.
Amazing day at Marwell zoo, topped by feeding the giraffes. Husband and I fed 7 giraffes by hand. I got sneezed on by kwame, the large male - brilliant!! Loved little Ruby. Very hands on. Not rushed at all. Thank you Megan, for making this an amazing experience for us both…Cathryn, 4th February 2016