Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Capybaras are native to South America and mainly inhabit humid areas such as grasslands, swamps, riverbanks and forests. In addition to their characteristic appearance, which is reminiscent of a mixture of pig and marmot, capybaras are known for their sociable and peaceful behavior.

Gnawing record holder

An adult capybara can grow to over 1 meter tall and weigh more than 50 kg – giving the species the distinction of being the largest rodent in the world! The grass-lovers are closely related to guinea pigs, chinchillas and spiny rats.


  • Origin

    South America

  • Habitat

    East of the Andes, grasslands, forests and waters

  • Diet

    Grasses and water plants

  • Size

    max. 1,30m

  • Weight


  • Gestation period

    5 months

  • Achievable age

    8 to 10 years in their natural habitat, more than 12 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

Bring on the water

Capybaras are usually found close to water. They like to dive to escape predators or to cool off. In case of danger, they seek refuge in the water – only their eyes, ears and nostrils can be seen lying in a line on the water surface. Between their toes are webbed feet that allow them to move quickly through the water.

Did you know that ...

...the name "capybara" means "lord of the grass"...
... form friendships with a variety of other animal species, including birds, tortoises and even caimans...
... are very sociable animals, living in groups of up to 30 individuals...

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