Arctic Hare
Photo 72919930 © Catherine Ekkelboom White - Dreamstime.com

Scientific Name

Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilyHydrochoeridae
GenusHydrochoerus
Specieshydrochaeris

IUCN Redlist Status

Least Concern

Location

Capybaras are located in South America and also Panama, the most southern country of Central America.

Habitat

Capybaras are mostly found in dense forests near water sources such as streams, ponds, rivers, swamps and lakes. They will run to the water to escape from a predator, such as a jaguar. This can sometimes backfire, as other threats like anacondas or caiman may be lurking there.

Diet

Capybaras' diets consist of fruits, grasses and water plants. They will also feed on vegetables grown on farms.

Size

Capybaras are the largest rodents on earth. Adult capybaras are typically between 3 - 4 feet long and can weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.

Description

Their heads resemble those of some smaller rodents, but they are much larger. They have small ears and their legs are short compared to their big round bodies. Capybaras have reddish-brown hair and two long front teeth that are typical in rodents.

Adaptations

Capybaras are well-suited for living in and near the water. Their webbed feet make them excellent swimmers, helping to propel them through the water quickly. They also have the ability to hide under water for extended periods of time by holding their noses just above the surface. They can sit completely underwater and hold their breath for up to five minutes.

Reproduction

Gestation periods of female capybaras last approximately 5 months. They will usually give birth to litters consisting of 2 - 8 offspring.

Other Facts

Like other rodents, capybaras have two long front teeth that never stop growing. Rather, their teeth are worn down by chewing on foods or bark.

They are social animals, living in groups controlled by one dominant male. They can communicate using various sounds to signal danger.

They are often hunted for meat or for their hides, which make very high-quality leather. They may be also be killed by farmers who view them as pests for destroying crops.