Where Are Capybaras From?

Capybaras are the worlds largest rodent. They dont look like the typical pests living in alleyways, though. Capybaras are as big as large dogs, have webbed feet and dont have a tail. They dont have the typical wedge-shaped face of most rodents, either. These rodents look much more like larger versions of their close relatives, guinea pigs.

(Image credit: Julie Kunen, Copyright WCS) Capybaras are social creatures. Sometimes, though, when capybaras feel threatened they will be nocturnal, which means they will stay awake at night and sleep during the day.

Eighty percent of their diet consists of only five different species of grasses, according to the San Diego Zoo. (Image credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo) Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Deuterostomia Phylum : Chordata Subphylum : Vertebrata Infraphylum : Gnathostomata Superclass : Tetrapoda Class : Mammalia Subclass : Theria Infraclass : Eutheria Order : Rodentia Suborder : Hystricomorpha Infraorder : Hystricognathi Family : Caviidae Subfamily : Hydrochoerinae Genus : Hydrochoerus Species : Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris An Amazon tribe calls the capybara Kapiyva or “master of the grasses” in their native language.

What countries do capybaras live in?

Capybaras are found in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Northeast Argentina and Uruguay. They are semi-aquatic and will spend most of their time in dense vegetation around rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes and swamps.

Where is the capybara native to?

Capybara live in Central and South America. They roam the swampy, grassy regions bordering rivers, ponds, streams. and lakes. Long in the teeth.

Where are capybaras legal as pets?

Where Can You Legally Own a Pet Capybara? This semi-aquatic rodent is legal to own in Texas, Pennsylvania, and parts of New York. In some states, they are legal but require licenses. Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Washington and North Carolina are states where you can likely own a pet capybara.

Are capybaras in USA?

Presently, there is a relatively small population of capybaras thriving in north-central Florida in the United States. There have been sightings of them as far south as Cape Coral, however.

A rodent of unusual size. Is it a beaver without a tail? A hairy pig without a snout? No, its a capybara, the largest rodent in the world! Standing 2 feet (60 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and built somewhat like a barrel with legs, the capy has long, light brown, shaggy hair, a face that looks like a beavers, no tail, and slightly webbed feet. Originally thought to be a pig of some sort, we now know that the capybara is a rodent, closely related to cavies and guinea pigs.

Due to its dry skin, a capy requires a swimming hole as part of its lifestyle to stay healthy. A capybara can lift just those parts out of the water to learn everything it needs to know about its surroundings while the rest of its body remains hidden underwater.

Even though rodents arent closely related to ruminants like goats, cows, and giraffes, capybaras regurgitate their food to chew it some more. At the San Diego Zoo, the capys are offered low-starch, high-fiber biscuits, assorted veggies and greens, and Bermuda grass hay.

The capybara[note 1] or greater capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is a giant cavy rodent native to South America. It is the largest living rodent[2] and a member of the genus Hydrochoerus. The only other extant member is the lesser capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius). Its close relatives include guinea pigs and rock cavies, and it is more distantly related to the agouti, the chinchilla, and the coypu. The capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is a highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals, but usually lives in groups of 1020 individuals. The capybara is not a threatened species and it is hunted for its meat and hide and also for grease from its thick fatty skin.[3]

The capybara is not a threatened species and it is hunted for its meat and hide and also for grease from its thick fatty skin . The scientific name , both hydrochoerus and hydrochaeris , comes from Greek ( hydro “water”) and ( choiros “pig, hog”).

[7] Since 2002, molecular phylogenetic studies have recognized a close relationship between Hydrochoerus and Kerodon , the rock cavies, [8] supporting placement of both genera in a subfamily of Caviidae . This is largely due to the recognition that capybara molar teeth show strong variation in shape over the life of an individual. Its sweat glands can be found in the surface of the hairy portions of its skin, an unusual trait among rodents.

Adult capybaras grow to 106 to 134 cm (3.48 to 4.40 ft) in length, stand 50 to 62 cm (20 to 24 in) tall at the withers , and typically weigh 35 to 66 kg (77 to 146 lb), with an average in the Venezuelan llanos of 48.9 kg (108 lb). A family of capybara swimmingCapybaras are semiaquatic mammals found throughout almost all countries of South America except Chile . Capybaras are herbivores , grazing mainly on grasses and aquatic plants , [14][24] as well as fruit and tree bark.

[26] Plants that capybaras eat during the summer lose their nutritional value in the winter, so they are not consumed at that time. [27] Capybaras are autocoprophagous , meaning they eat their own feces as a source of bacterial gut flora , to help digest the cellulose in the grass that forms their normal diet, and to extract the maximum protein and vitamins from their food. [32] Capybara groups can consist of as many as 50 or 100 individuals during the dry season when the animals gather around available water sources.

A crystalline form of scent secretion is coated on these hairs and is released when in contact with objects such as plants. Capybaras scent-mark by rubbing their morrillos on objects, or by walking over scrub and marking it with their anal glands. Mother with typical litter of about four pups.When in estrus , the female’s scent changes subtly and nearby males begin pursuit.

Breeding peaks between April and May in Venezuela and between October and November in Mato Grosso , Brazil. They are excellent swimmers, and can remain completely submerged for up to five minutes, [14] an ability they use to evade predators . As temperatures increase during the day, they wallow in water and then graze during the late afternoon and early evening.

Capybaras are not considered a threatened species ; their population is stable throughout most of their South American range, though in some areas hunting has reduced their numbers. Capybaras are hunted for their meat and pelts in some areas, [38] and otherwise killed by humans who see their grazing as competition for livestock . They can be found in many areas in zoos and parks , [27] and may live for 12 years in captivity , more than double their wild lifespan.

[19] Capybaras are docile and usually allow humans to pet and hand-feed them, but physical contact is normally discouraged, as their ticks can be vectors to Rocky Mountain spotted fever . [7] In parts of South America, especially in Venezuela, capybara meat is popular during Lent and Holy Week as the Catholic Church previously issued special dispensation to allow it to be eaten while other meats are generally forbidden . [42] Lpez de Ceballos (1974) [43] as cited in Herrera & Barreto (2013) [44] p. 307 states that after several attempts a 1784 Papal bull was obtained that allowed the consumption of capybara during Lent.

^ Also called capivara (in Brazil), capiguara (in Bolivia), chigire , chigiro , or fercho (in Colombia and Venezuela), carpincho (in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) and ronsoco (in Peru). B. H. (1986) Novo Dicionrio da Lngua Portuguesa , 2nd ed., Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, p.344 ^ a b c Woods, C.A. “Phylogenetic Relationships, Ecological Correlates, and Molecular Evolution Within the Cavioidea (Mammalia, Rodentia)” .

^ Deschamps, Cecilia M.; Olivares, Itat; Vieytes, Emma Carolina; Vucetich, Mara Guiomar (12 September 2007). “Ontogeny and diversity of the oldest capybaras (Rodentia: Hydrochoeridae; late Miocene of Argentina)”. “A new capybara from the late Miocene of San Juan Province, Argentina, and its phylogenetic implications” .

^ Ferraz, Katia Maria Paschoaletto Micchi de Barros; Bonach, Kelly; Verdade, Luciano Martins (2005). ^ Erick J. Lundgren, Daniel Ramp, John Rowan, Owen Middleton, Simon D. Schowanek, Oscar Sanisidro, Scott P. Carroll, Matt Davis, Christopher J. Sandom, Jens-Christian Svenning, Arian D. Wallach, James A. Estes, 2020, Introduced herbivores restore Late Pleistocene ecological functions , PNAS, 117 (14), pp.7871-7878, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ^ Mather, Kate (18 August 2011). “Dieta del capibara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (Rodentia: Hydrochaeridae) en Cao Limn, Arauca, Colombia” [Distribution and abundance of Caiman crocodilus in the Cao Negro National Wild Life Refuge, Costa Rica].

^ Cueto, Gerardo Ruben; Allekotte, Roman; Kravetz, Fernando Osvaldo (January 2000). Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0-7614-7269-X , p. 384 Capybara, the master of the grasses: pest or prey Sounds and Colours. “Behavioral anatomical and chemical aspects of scent marking among Capybaras ( Hydrochaeris hypdrochaeris ) (Rodentia: Caviomorpha)”.

^ Thompson, Andy (January 18, 2008) Trip to South America gives new meaning to outdoors life . ^ “Febre maculosa: “Os mdicos no Brasil no conhecem a doena” [Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Brazilian doctors unaware of the disease] (in Portuguese). ^ Basile, Roberta Carvalho; Yoshinari, Natalino Hajime; Mantovani, Elenice; Bonoldi, Virgnia Nazrio; Macoris, Delphim da Graa; Queiroz-Neto, Antonio de (4 October 2016).

Size

Capybaras are from about 39 to 51 inches (100 to 130 centimeters) long and about 20 inches (50 cm) tall from foot to shoulder. They tend to weigh 60 to 174 lbs. (27 to 79 kilograms), depending on gender. Females are usually a little larger than males.

Habitat

These water-loving rodents need water to keep their dry skin moist and are found only in areas with abundant water sources. Some of their moist habitats include estuaries, marshes, river banks and along streams in Central and South America, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Capybaras, also called water hogs, sleep along the water source in dense vegetation to hide from predators and to keep cool. Sometimes capybaras will nap in mud or shallow water, as well.

Habits

Capybaras are social creatures. A typical group of capybaras contains around 10 members. During the wet season, though, a group can contain around 40 members and up to 100 members during the dry season, all lead by a dominant male. A group’s home range may be from five to 494 acres (two to 200 hectares), according to the San Diego Zoo.As crepuscular animals, capybaras are most active during dawn or dusk. Sometimes, though, when capybaras feel threatened they will be nocturnal, which means they will stay awake at night and sleep during the day. The dark provides them cover while they eat and socialize so that predators are less likely to attack them.

Diet

Capybaras are herbivores and only eat vegetation. They eat mostly water plants and grasses, though grain, melons and squash can also be on the menu. Eighty percent of their diet consists of only five different species of grasses, according to the San Diego Zoo. A typical day of eating can include 6 to 8 lbs. (2.7 to 3.6 kg) of fresh grass, according to the Rainforest Alliance.

Offspring

Gestation for a female capybara can last up to 120 days. She typically gives birth to around three pups at once but can have anywhere between one to seven offspring at a time.Pups weigh 2 to 3 lbs. (1 to 1.5 kg) at birth and already have teeth. They are weaned at 16 weeks. At 18 weeks, pups are as big as 88 lbs. (40 kg).Around a year old, pups leave their parent’s groups to find new ones. Females sexually mature around the age of 7 to 12 months and males mature around 15 and 24 months. They typically live six to 12 years, according to the Animal Diversity Web.

Classification/Taxonomy

Here is the classification of capybaras, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS):

Conservation Status

Capybaras are listed as least concern by the IUCN. This is because the population seems to be large, widespread and non-threatened, though the actual population of the capybara is unknown.

HABITAT AND DIET

Feeling right at home. Capybara live in Central and South America. They roam the swampy, grassy regions bordering rivers, ponds, streams. and lakes.Long in the teeth. Because capybaras are rodents, they share some common features with mice, squirrels, and porcupines. The most well-known of those features are probably those ever-growing front teeth. Capybaras use their long, sharp teeth for grazing on grass and water plants. An adult capy can eat 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.6 kilograms) of grass per day! During the dry season, when fresh grasses and water plants dry up, capybaras eat reeds, grains, melons, and squashes. They also eat their own poop to get beneficial bacteria to help their stomach break down the thick fiber in their meals.Even though rodents aren’t closely related to ruminants like goats, cows, and giraffes, capybaras regurgitate their food to chew it some more. They chew their food from side to side, like a camel, rather than up and down, like we do. This is a good way to eat tough plant materials.At the San Diego Zoo, the capys are offered low-starch, high-fiber biscuits, assorted veggies and greens, and Bermuda grass hay.

FAMILY LIFE

Many helpers. Capybaras usually live in small groups of about 10 individuals, made up of a dominant male, one or more females, one or more subordinate males, and several young. During the wet season, as many as 40 capys may be found together. It is helpful to have many sets of eyes watching out for the youngsters, since they can easily fall victim to caimans, ocelots, harpy eagles, and anacondas. Adult capybaras have one main natural predator—the jaguar—but humans hunt them as well.