(Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)


South America

Flooded grasslands, swamps

Grasses, aquatic plants, leaves, nuts, fruits

No accurate information about their status available

Approx. 1 to 1.30 m

35 to 66 kg

Gestation period
Approx. 5 months

Achievable age
Up to approx. 12 years

What you should know about capybaras
The Indian name of the water pig, 'capybara', means 'master of the grasses', which also reveals their main source of food. Their perfectly positioned sensory organs on the top of their heads, such as the nose, ears and eyes, is indicative of the fact that they are particularly well adapted to life in the water. This enables them to almost completely submerge themselves, yet still being able to see, smell and hear properly.

A diet of solid food from a very young age
Capybaras produce offspring once a year. The little capybaras are suckled for two months, but they are capable of nibbling thin parts of plants shortly after their birth. A practical necessity, because the little ones are left to fend for themselves after the end of the suckling period.

Strength in numbers

They live together in large groups of up to 30 animals. The precise composition may vary depending the surroundings and season. The drier it is, the larger the group. You will very rarely see them on their own – and if you do, they are more likely to be young males.

Is it true, that ...?
Even though their name is slightly misleading, the 'water pigs' aren't actually pigs, but rodents. The length of approx. 130 cm that the head-body length may reach (with a size that is comparable to a sheep), makes them the largest rodents in the world.