Baby capybara climbing on mother's back.

Capybara

water pigs

Type

giant panda

Mammals

Area

South America

South America

Endangered Status

Stable

facts

size
2 feet
height at the shoulder
capybara next to an average soccer ball
food
plants, more
herbivore
herbivore

Capybaras like to eat grass and water plants. During the dry season, fresh grasses and water plants dry up. Then, capybaras eat reeds, grains, melons, and squashes. 

habitat
wetlands, more
wetlands

Capybaras live along riverbanks; beside ponds; and in swampy, marshy or grassy areas at the edges of bodies of water.

description

Capybara

Rodents of unusual size

People used to think that capybaras were a kind of pig. Their scientific name (Hydrochoerus) means “water hog.” Actually, capybaras are rodents. They are related to guinea pigs, hamsters, and mice. In fact, they are the biggest kind of rodent. 

Capybara babies cuddled up next to mom.

So, so social

Capybaras live in groups. In the dry season, you might find up to a hundred of them together at a water source. All the females in a group help to care for and even nurse each other’s babies. 

Capybara submerged up to its neck in water.

Water, water, everywhere

Capybaras keep cool during a hot day by wallowing in shallow water and mud. They escape from danger by plunging underwater for up to five minutes at a time. A capybara’s eyes, ears, and nostrils are all near the top of its head. With the rest of its body hidden underwater, a capybara can learn everything it needs to know about its surroundings.

quiz