- Scientific Name:
- Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
- Park Location:
- South America
- Dense forests near water
- The capybara is the largest rodent in the world and can weigh over 70kilograms
Capybaras are semi-aquatic, spending a lot of their time in the water. They are very well adapted to this lifestyle with their eyes, ears and nostrils being on the top of their large heads, allowing them see and breathe while swimming.
Capybaras are highly social animals and live in groups of around 10-20 with one dominant male, females, offspring and subordinate males. They spend most of their day feeding on grass and aquatic plants but living in a group allows one to bark to the others immediately if they see a predator so taking turns in keeping watch is a key part of their survival. Occasionally males will scuffle as the benefits of being dominant means you are in the centre of the group which is safest and also claims them the rights to the females. Capybaras are pregnant for around 5 months and give birth to a litter of around 3-5 young at a time.
Capybaras tend to live 8-12 years in the wild but have been known to live around 14 years in captivity. According to the IUCN Red List they are considered Least Concern. Their threats include poaching for their fur and also meat but they are mostly affected by habitat loss.