Dark and light green leaves

Capybara – Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris

Status: Least Concern

Habitat: Capybaras live in family groups or small herds of 20 or less near lakes and rivers in South and Central America. Capybaras rest in shallow depressions in the ground.

Adaptations: The world’s largest rodent, the capybara can stand over two feet tall at the shoulder and weigh in excess of 120 pounds. They are sometimes referred to as “water hogs,” both because of their pig-like appearance and because they spend considerable time in the water. They are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). They are graceful swimmers, having partially webbed feet, and can remain submerged for several minutes. A large amount of fatty tissue gives them neutral buoyancy in the water.

Diet: Capybaras may graze on land or feed on hyacinth and other aquatic plants in the water. Like other rodents, their teeth grow continuously and must be worn down by gnawing.

Fun Fact: The word capybara means “master of the grasses.” Centuries ago, capybaras were declared to be a fish by the Pope, which allowed the meat to be eaten during the Lenten season.