Capybaras are semi-aquatic animals, found in densely forested areas near water in much of South America.
Capybara’s are vegetarian, and they will eat their own faeces in order to gain any additional nutrients from the plants they have already.
Capybaras are the largest species of rodent found alive today. On average they weigh 100 pounds and measure 2 feet tall and 4 feet long. Their scientific name means ‘water pig’ as they are semi- aquatic and can stay submerged in water for up to 5 minutes. Their bodies are specially adapted for swimming including webbed feet and the location of their eyes, ears and nostrils on top of their heads. Unfortunately they can sunburn very easily due to their coarse hair which is sparsely spread over the body. For this reason they tend to be active at twilight, early morning and sunset. During the day when the sun is at its hottest they will rest in water.
Up to 4 young will be born, at any time of year but normally during the wet season. Mums will raise the babies, and will form crèches, where one or two females will look after up to 20 youngsters at one time.
Natural predators include jaguars, pumas and anacondas.
Capybaras are very common throughout their range and are listed as being Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Latin Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
- Class: Mammals
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Hydrochoeridae
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
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