The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest living rodent in the world and is native to South America. 

Physical Characteristics: Capybaras are large, barrel-shaped rodents with a stocky build and short legs. They have a unique appearance, with a broad head, rounded ears, and a blunt snout. Capybaras have coarse, dark brown fur, which helps to insulate them in their aquatic habitat. They have partially webbed feet, which make them excellent swimmers. Adult capybaras typically weigh between 35 to 66 kilograms (77 to 146 pounds) and stand around 50 to 60 centimetres (20 to 24 inches) tall at the shoulder.

Habitat: Capybaras are found in a variety of habitats throughout South America, including savannas, wetlands, and forests. They are semi-aquatic animals and are commonly found near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, and marshes, where they can swim and feed on aquatic plants.

Diet: Capybaras are herbivores, feeding primarily on grasses, aquatic plants, and fruits. They are selective feeders and will often graze on a variety of plant species to meet their nutritional needs. Capybaras have specialized digestive systems that allow them to extract nutrients from tough, fibrous vegetation.

Behaviour: Capybaras are social animals and live in groups known as herds, which typically consist of several individuals, including adult males, females, and their offspring. These herds are often led by a dominant male, who is responsible for defending the group and maintaining order. Capybaras are most active during the early morning and late evening hours, resting in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Reproduction: Capybaras breed throughout the year, with peaks in mating activity during the rainy season. After a gestation period of around 130 to 150 days, females give birth to a litter of one to eight offspring, although the average litter size is around four. Capybara young, known as pups, are precocial and can stand and walk shortly after birth. They are cared for by their mothers and remain with the herd for protection.

Conservation Status: Capybaras are listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their wide distribution and stable populations throughout much of their range. However, they face threats from habitat loss, hunting, and competition with livestock for resources in some areas. Conservation efforts focus on habitat protection, sustainable management of populations, and public education to ensure the long-term survival of capybaras and their habitats.

Overall, capybaras are fascinating and unique animals with a vital role in the ecosystems of South America. Their social behaviour, adaptability, and distinctive appearance make them popular subjects for study and observation.

Capybara Gallery


Location - Zoo
Threat Status - Least Concerned

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