The capybara ranges through Central and South America.
The capybara inhabits densely vegetated areas and forests around lakes, streams, swamps and marshes.
- Head-body length 42-53 inches (106-134 cm).
- Males weigh 77-141 lbs (35-64 kg), and females 81-146 lbs (37-66 kg).
- Their coarse hair varies in color from reddish-brown to gray with yellow-brown on the belly
- Their front legs are shorter than their back legs and they have no tail.
- They have slight webbing between their toes.
- Males have a dark, oval-shaped scent gland on top of the snout.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Grasses, aquatic plants, tree bark, grains, squash, melon and other fruits
At the zoo: Rodent pellets with vitamins and minerals plus fruits, vegetables and hay
What Eats It?
Young are vulnerable to predation by vultures, feral dogs, caimans and foxes; adults are vulnerable to predation by jaguars, and some by caimans and anacondas.
Capybara are social animals living in groups of 10-30 composed of a dominant male, one or more females, infants and young, plus one or more subordinate males. They maintain and defend a territory when vegetation is plentiful. During the dry season groups of up to 100 may congregate together.
Capybara are sexually mature at about 18 months. Breeding takes place in the water and occurs year round. After a gestation of about 150 days, females give birth to litters of up to seven young. Newborns weigh about two to three lbs (1-1.4 kg); they can see, and are covered with hair. A few hours after birth they are able to stand and run. Young can eat grass within the first week but depend primarily on mother’s milk for the first few months, then are weaned at about a year. Females in the herd share the job of providing milk for the young as well as protecting and caring for them. Capybara can live eight to 10 years in the wild and up to 12 years in captivity.