25 Unique Facts about Capybaras: The Largest Rodent in the World

  Capybara, scientifically known as Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, is one of the world's largest rodent species and a fascinating animal native to South America. These unique animals are well known for their harmless nature and friendly behavior, which makes them such an attraction in zoos and as pets. The description, behavior, habitats and conservation status of the capybara will be explored in this article.


Capybara with pup 
source: wallpaperflare


 Capybaras are semi-aquatic animals that live in close proximity to water bodies such as rivers, lakes and swamps. They're the size of a large dog, with an average body weight of 35 to 66 kg (77 to 146 lb. and may be able to grow up to 1 3 metres 44.3 feet in length. The capybaras have a thicker, impermeable coat to help them retain heat in the water. Their coat is reddish-brown to dark brown in color, and they have a short, blunt snout.

 The capybara's webbed feet make them good at swimming in the water. They've got four toes on their front legs and three toes on their back legs. They have large teeth that continuously grow throughout their life, but they are kept short by constant gnawing on hard objects. The capybaras, which mainly eat grasses, aquatic plants and bark of trees, are herbivores. In addition, they have a unique digestive system that allows them to obtain more nutrients from tough plant material.


 Capybara are social animals, which generally live in groups of 10 to 20 individuals. They've got an entirely new social structure, with dominant females running the group. They are known to be involved in alloparenting, meaning that more than one individual cares for and protects the offspring of other individuals within a group. The capybaras have a gland on their snout that produces musky substances, which are used for marking territory.

 The capybara is active all day and sleeps at night. They're crepuscular, which means they're the most active at dawn and dusk. The Capybaras have a wide range of vocalizations, such as barks, groans and whistles that they use for communication with one another. They've been known to be very friendly, which often enables other animals to ride on their backs.


Capybara in captivity
source: pixabay

 The capybaras are excellent swimmers, and for up to five minutes underwater they can hold their breath. They're also capable of diving to depths of up to 2 meters. Jaguars, anacondas and crocodiles prey on the capybara. People are also hunting them for their meat and hides. In some indigenous communities in South America, the capybara is also used for traditional medicinal purposes.

Habitat and Distribution 

 In South America, capybaras can be found in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. They are found in a wide range of habitats, ranging from grassland and savannas to forests and wetlands. They're semiaquatic, need access to water for survival. The capybara adapt to living under a variety of weather conditions, from the hot and humid tropics to cooler regions with lower temperatures.


Capybaras are listed as Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, due to habitat loss, hunting and the growth of agriculture and urbanization their populations are declining. They're also hunted for their meat and hides, which poses a risk to the survival of capybaras when used in traditional medicine. There is a need to preserve the habitat and survival of capybaras.