Capybara
Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Rodentia
FAMILY: Hydrochaeridae

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

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

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

DIET:
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

ADAPTATIONS:

  • 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.

YOUNG:
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.

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

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