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The Capybara

The Capybara, also known as Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, is the largest rodent in the world. They are semiaquatic mammals native to South America, particularly the grassy regions surrounding rivers, lakes, and swamps. Capybaras have a sturdy and barrel-shaped body with short, powerful legs. They are covered in dense, coarse hair that ranges in color from reddish-brown to golden-brown. Capybaras have a large head, small ears, and a blunt snout. They possess webbed feet and can swim underwater for several minutes, thanks to their ability to close their nostrils and ears. These social animals are known for forming close-knit groups, called herds, consisting of multiple males and females, led by a dominant male. They communicate through a variety of vocalizations and scent marking.

Capybara - Animal Matchup
Capybara
SizeAbout 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) in length
WeightAround 50-65 kilograms (110-143 pounds)
Speed22 mph (35 km/h)
Key StrengthPowerful jaws and strong legs for defense
Biggest WeaknessLess agile on land compared to in water
Scientific NameHydrochoerus hydrochaeris
FamilyCaviidae
HabitatSemi-aquatic, found in wetlands and grassy areas near water bodies.
GeographyNative to South America, specifically found in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina
DietHerbivorous, primarily feeding on grasses and aquatic plants.
Lifespan10 years - 12 years
Capybara - Animal Matchup

The Capybara

The Capybara, also known as Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, is the largest rodent in the world. They are semiaquatic mammals native to South America, particularly the grassy regions surrounding rivers, lakes, and swamps. Capybaras have a sturdy and barrel-shaped body with short, powerful legs. They are covered in dense, coarse hair that ranges in color from reddish-brown to golden-brown. Capybaras have a large head, small ears, and a blunt snout. They possess webbed feet and can swim underwater for several minutes, thanks to their ability to close their nostrils and ears. These social animals are known for forming close-knit groups, called herds, consisting of multiple males and females, led by a dominant male. They communicate through a variety of vocalizations and scent marking.

Fun Fact: Despite being herbivores, Capybaras have unique digestive systems that allow them to efficiently process food, including tough and fibrous plant material. Their large cecum— a section of the digestive tract— contains a rich population of microorganisms that help break down cellulose and extract nutrients from their plant-based diet.

Capybara
SizeAbout 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) in length
WeightAround 50-65 kilograms (110-143 pounds)
Speed22 mph (35 km/h)
Key StrengthPowerful jaws and strong legs for defense
Biggest WeaknessLess agile on land compared to in water
Scientific NameHydrochoerus hydrochaeris
FamilyCaviidae
HabitatSemi-aquatic, found in wetlands and grassy areas near water bodies.
GeographyNative to South America, specifically found in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina
DietHerbivorous, primarily feeding on grasses and aquatic plants.
Lifespan10 years - 12 years

Capybara Matchups

We use AI to simulate matchups between the Capybara and other animals. Our simulation considers size, strength, and natural predatory behaviors to determine the most likely outcome.

Gopher vs Capybara - Animal Matchup

Gopher vs Capybara

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Capybara: Diet, Predators, Aggression, and Defensive Behaviors

What do Capybaras eat?

Capybaras are herbivores, meaning their diet consists primarily of plants. They mainly feed on grasses, aquatic plants, and various vegetation found near bodies of water. In addition to plants, they also consume fruits, tree bark, and even their own feces, a behavior known as coprophagy, which helps them extract additional nutrients from their food. Being excellent swimmers, capybaras can even dive underwater to graze on aquatic plants.

Do Capybaras have any predators?

Yes, Capybaras have several natural predators in their native habitats. They are vulnerable to predation from large carnivorous species such as jaguars, anacondas, caimans, and large birds of prey like eagles. While capybaras are generally social animals and live in groups, their main defense against predators is their highly developed sense of hearing and smell, which allows them to detect potential threats and quickly flee into nearby water bodies.

Are Capybaras aggressive?

Capybaras are typically known for their docile and tolerant nature, and they are generally considered to be quite friendly and social creatures. They are highly social animals that form large groups, often consisting of multiple adults and their offspring. Within their social circles, capybaras exhibit cooperative behavior and engage in grooming activities. However, while they are usually peaceful animals, they may display aggression towards others when feeling threatened or during mating season when competition for mates becomes more intense.

How do Capybaras defend themselves?

Capybaras rely on their physical adaptations and behavioral strategies to defend themselves against potential threats. Due to their large size, they have evolved relatively thick skin, which provides some protection against bites from predators. When they sense danger, capybaras will emit high-pitched vocalizations or loud alarm calls to alert others in their group of potential danger. They are skilled swimmers and can swiftly escape into water bodies, where they feel safe from predators due to their ability to remain submerged for several minutes. Additionally, capybaras may kick their hind legs forcefully to deter predators or defend themselves if caught off guard.

Fun Fact: Capybaras are highly compatible with other species and often form symbiotic relationships. They can often be observed sharing resting sites with caimans and forming mutualistic alliances with birds called wattled jacanas. While the capybaras enjoy the protection from predators that the jacanas provide by perching on their backs, the birds benefit from the insects that are stirred up by capybara movement.

Fun Fact: Capybaras are incredible swimmers and can stay submerged for up to five minutes, gracefully maneuvering through the water. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are positioned on top of their head, allowing them to keep most of their body submerged while maintaining awareness of their surroundings. This adaptation helps them evade predators and efficiently search for tasty aquatic plants.

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