Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Rodentia
FAMILY: Hydrochaeridae

Head and body length approximately 3-4 feet shoulder; height 19-20 inches; weight little over 100 lbs.; Capybaras are the largest living rodents.

South America; east of the Andes southward to the mouth of the Rio Parana (former range extended into southeastern corner of North America.)

Woods with dense vegetation around ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, marshes, and swamps

Wild - Herbivorous, eat various aquatic plants and grasses. Have sometimes been seen grazing with cattle. Occasionally consume grains, melons, and squashes
Zoo - Friuts, vegetables, lettuce, grains, and primate biscuits


  • Digits on both for feet and hind feet are partially webbed and are armed with short, strong claws
  • Caybaras live in family groups or in bands
  • Where hunted they are nocturnal. Where unmolested, they are active during the morning and evening, resting during the heat of the day.
  • Good swimmers
  • Life span in the wild about 8 to 10 years
  • Favorite prey of the jaguar; hunted by crocodile and also man.

Well developed babies -- after gestation period of 119-126 days, the babies are born in advanced stage of development.

2-8 young are born which are independent after a few weeks and reach sexual maturity after one year.

Widespread; locally common but are noe common in heavily populated areas due to hunting; being farmed in some areas

Walker's Mammals of the World, Fifth Edition, Vol. II, Ronald M. Nowak