Claiming the title of the world’s larges rodent, the Capybara is over a metre in length and can weigh as much as 66 kilograms! These remarkable rodents make their home close to rivers and tributaries inSouth America and are perfectly adapted for an aquatic lifestyle. Their webbed feet and buoyant body coupled with the ability to stay under water for up to 5 minutes gives them the run of the rivers they reside in.
The Capybara is a very social animal, often living in groups of up to 30 individuals. These groups usually comprise of one dominant male, a number of often related females, subordinate males and young of varying ages. Capybaras mate under water, with the female usually giving birth to one litter a year.After a five month gestation period, the female Capybara can give birth to as many as 8 young. Though not the best swimmers at first, the young are highly developed and able to follow the mother around and eat grass after just 1 week!
Threats in the wild
The Capybara is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Though the species is not in any imminent danger of becoming extinct, it does face a number of threats in the wild. Capybara are often exploited for their skins and hunted for their meat. They also face persecution from farmers who believe that they compete with their live stock.