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10 Facts About Capybaras

Last Reviewed and Updated on August 2, 2022

Capybaras are large rodents that are native to South America. They are related to guinea pigs, and it doesn’t take much effort to see the resemblance. Read through these amazing facts about capybaras, from their interesting mating rituals to the fun fact they were classified as fish for one specific purpose.

1. Capybaras are the largest living rodents

Capybaras are rodents just like mice and rats. They are the largest living rodents. Adult capybaras can grow to 3.48 to 4.40 ft / 106 to 134 cm in length, stand up to about 24 inches / 62 cm tall between the shoulder blades, and usually weigh up to about 146 lb / 66 kg.

Females capybaras tend to be slightly larger than males; the heaviest wild female to date weighted 162 lb / 73.5 kg.

2. These animals live in groups

Capybaras are very social animals. While you may encounter a solitary one, they usually form groups of 10 to 20 individuals. Larger groups are common, and they can have as many as 100 individuals. A group of capybaras can be called a herd.

3. Capybaras are semiaquatic mammals

Semiaquatic animals are land animals that spend a lot of their time in and near water, and where water plays an essential role in their life, either in their behavior or mating.

4. A female whistles to alert the male that she is ready to mate

When a female is ready to mate, her scent changes slightly, and nearby males begin their pursuit. But it doesn’t end there; the females also whistle through their noses to alert the males.

Think this fact is cool? You will love our list of weirdest facts about animals.

5. They mate in the water

Capybaras only mate in water. If the female decides she doesn’t want to mate with a particular male, she will either leave the water or submerge in water.

6. Capybaras can sleep in the water

These animals really do like spending their time in the water. They will sleep in the water, keeping only their noses out to breathe.

7. Capybara was classified as a fish, on paper, kind of

One of the fascinating facts about capybaras is they were declared fish by the Catholic Church in the 16th century. And it wasn’t exactly for its swimming abilities. They were classified as fish so they could be eaten on Fridays and during Lent. Under Catholic traditions, meat shouldn’t be eaten on those days unless it’s fish meat.

8. Capybaras can be underwater for 5 minutes

Another of their amazing abilities is their ability to stay submerged underwater for up to five minutes. This allows them to evade predators.

9. Their front teeth grow continuously

Their long incisors grow continuously throughout their lives. As they chew on their food, these teeth get worn down, which keeps them at manageable lengths.

10. They eat their own poo

No nutrient shall go to waste! Capybaras eat their own poo to digest it again and extract all the nutrients, and increase their bacterial gut flora.

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