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Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris

Did you know?

  • Capybaras are part of the Caviidae family, which they share with other rodents native to South America.
  • Are excellent swimmers and divers. They can hold their breath for several minutes and even sleep underwater with their noses poking out above the waterline.
  • They use their long, ever-growing, sharp teeth for grazing on grass and water plants.
  • When eating, they chew their food from side to side.
  • Females have a gestation (pregnancy) of five to six months and birth an average of five pups.
  • Capybaras sometimes eat their own poop – the bacteria helps their stomachs to break down fiber.

The largest rodent

The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. It weighs about 100 pounds and stands 2 feet tall at the shoulder.

Safety in numbers

Capybaras usually live in small groups of 10 or fewer individuals, made up of a dominant male, females and their offspring. There’s safety in numbers when predators like the jaguar are lurking around for a meal.

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


The Capybara is widespread and abundant.


Central and South America


River banks

Find this animal in River's Edge


River's Edge

Take a journey along a mythical waterway through four continents to discover how wildlife, plants and people interact. River's Edge is the Saint Louis Zoo's first immersion exhibit—a lushly planted naturalistic environment showcasing multiple species from around the world.

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