Capybaras (Hydrochoerus spp.) Fact Sheet, 2008
Capybara, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Describer (Date): Linnaeus (1766)
Species: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (greater capybara)
For Greater Capybara
Body Weight: 35-65 kg (77-143 lbs)
Head-Body Length: 1070-1340 mm (3.5-4.4 ft)
Pelage: Long, coarse, sparse, reddish-brown
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Range: Panama to NE Argentina (northern South America east of Andes) for H. hydrochaeris.
Habitat: Lowland grassy areas bordering rivers, ponds, lakes; need open water and dry land
IUCN Status: Least Concern ver 3.1
CITES Appendix: Not listed
Locomotion: One basic gait: a pace with 3 feet on the ground; good swimmers
Activity Cycle: Grazing late afternoon, evening, night; rest during morning; spend hot hours of the day in water
Social Groups: Highly social; up to 100 individuals at water in dry season
Diet: Selective grazers; prefer several species of native grasses
Predators: Jaguars, puma, foxes, bush dogs, feral dogs, ocelots, caiman (alligator), birds of prey, and humans
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Gestation: 150 days
Litter Size: 4 to 5 pups
Birth weight: 1,500 grams (3.3 lbs)
Age at Weaning: About 16 weeks
Feature Facts: Excellent swimmer with slightly webbed feet; can stay underwater up to 5 minutes
San Diego Zoo: A San Diego Zoo capybara named Caba formed an unusual friendship with a feral cat in 1944; the two often rested together & groomed
About This Fact Sheet
© 2008-2015 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated 2015. Size information updated 2017.
How to cite: Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) Fact Sheet, 2008. c2008-2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/capybara.
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.