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What is a capybara? This is what most newbie keepers ask. Is it a beaver? A different kind of pig? Nope, well sort of. A Capybara is the largest kind of rodent in the world. It’s height is around 60 centimeters or 2 feet. What is a Capybara? These animals are tall at the shoulder with a light and long shaggy hair that’s color brown. They have a face that’s similar to that of a beaver, they have slightly webbed feet and no tail. In this article, you’ll learn more about what is a Capybara?

Swimming Pets

In Africa, they have water pigs like hippos, and in America, we have capybaras. These animals came from the east of the Andes around South America. They usually live in ponds, riverbanks, marshes or wherever there’s a natural water source available. Due to their dry skin, capybaras require a swimming hole to stay happy and healthy.

Capybara loves the water because it’s a source of life for them. They consume water plants as well as grasses. Capybaras also use water to escape from potential danger or predators. These animals use their webbed feet to walk and also swim.

The capybara species has something in common with the hippopotamus; its eyes, nostrils and ears are all found near its head. What is capybara can actually lift the organs that they need out of the water if they want to learn what’s happening in their environment while the rest of its body is hidden underneath.   

These animals also enjoy mud and shallow water as they use it keep themselves cool during a hot day before they wander out at night to do some grazing. They also tend to eat around dawn and dusk. However, if they feel threatened in anyway, they usually wait until it is safe to roam around at night and find food.


Capybaras inhabit Central and South America and can be found in grassy regions, swamps, lakes and near streaming water. What is capybaras are rodents and aside from hippos, they also share some common features with porcupines, mice and squirrels. One of the most well – known feature is their front teeth. Capys have sharp and long teeth that are suitable for grazing on grass.

An adult capybara can eat around six to eight pounds of grass every day. During dry season however, grasses and water plants dries up which is why they turn to eating squashes, grains, melons and reeds among others. They also tend to eat their own poop in order to get beneficial bacteria that can help their tummies break down thick fiber in their meals. Sounds gross but it’s healthy for them.

Even though these kinds of rodents are not really related with grass – eating animals like cows and goats, they consume their food by chewing. They actually regurgitate their food and eat it side to side just like a camel. They do it because it’s how they eat hard plants. 

In most zoos, what is capybara usually eat high – fiber biscuits, assorted greens, and Bermuda grass hay.


Most capybaras live in small groups. They hang out with five or more other capys that’s made up of a dominant male, females and male subordinate and some young capys. During the wet season, it’s normal to find 40 capys together. For them, it’s better to stay in a pack and have many set of eyes that’s watching out for their youngsters. A common enemy of what is capybara includes harpy eagles, caimans, anacondas and ocelots. The main predator that hunt capybaras are jaguar.


What is capybara is not classified as an endangered species as of this writing. Still, their population is being threatened by various factors such as illegal poaching, deforestation, and destruction of their habitats. It was not too long ago that their species is in trouble because of humans hunting them. There are some people who use the what is capybara as food source for centuries. And it’s also been seen that some wear their teeth as ornaments.

Today, what is capybara are being farmed for their meat particularly in countries like Colombia and Venezuela. This usually helps them protect these animals that are in the wild. This in turn can also help plants and other animals.

What is Capybara: Some Interesting Facts

Even if capybaras look a lot like beavers, they are still considered as large rodents. Here are some interesting facts about what is capybara.

Fully grown capys usually reach four feet in length and can weigh up to 140 pounds.

Female capys are usually larger than their male counterparts

They sport a barrel – shaped body and they are covered with brown fur

Capybaras eat plants, graze grass and mostly eat aquatic plants at night. They also consume fruits and bark of the tree.

A typical adult capy eat around eight pounds of grass per day

Capys regurgitate their food and chew it like a camel

They eat their own feces as it helps them in digesting tough plants

The main threat to them include animals like eagles, anacondas, caimans and jaguars

Capybara Defense Mechanism

Whenever capybaras sense a predator, they usually produce a warning bark that will then alert other group members. They can also whistle, grunt, purr and squeal.

They can communicate through scents. Males usually release a substance in order to mark their territory. On the other hand, females release smelly substances in order to give signal to the males that they’re ready for mating

They tend to have their own tribe that’s around 10 or more members. You can see them flocking together during the dry season.

Dominant males is the leader of the pack. He’s usually responsible for the group’s safety.

They are excellent divers and swimmers and can keep their breath for 5 minutes underwater if there’s any danger.

Capys only have one litter every year. They can give birth to four babies and gestation period lasts for 5 to 6 months.

What is capybaras can live for 10 years in the wild, and around 12 or more in captivity.

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