Genus and Species: Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris
Capybara are the largest rodents in the world. Three male capybaras
live at the Zoo's Elephant
Description: Capybaras have
heavy, barrel-shaped bodies with short heads. Their fur is
reddish brown on the upper parts and yellowish brown underneath. Adult capybaras may be as long as 130 centimeters (more than four feet) and 50 centimeters (1.6 feet) tall, and weigh more than 100 pounds.
Range and Habitat: The
capybara is found in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas
and Peru, south through Brazil, Paraguay, northeast Argentina,
and Uruguay. Semi-aquatic, they frequent dense vegetation
surrounding lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, and ponds.
Diet: The capybara is a grazing
herbivore, eating mainly grasses and aquatic plants.
Behavior: Capybara are highly
social and live in groups controlled by a dominant male.
Status: Capybara populations are considered stable
through much of their range, but hunting in some areas
has reduced their numbers.
Fun Fact: Capybara dive and
may remain underwater for as long as five minutes.