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Capybara is the world’s largest rodent and can be found in Central and South America. It is also known by different names such as chigüire, chigüiro (in Venezuela), and carpincho. It belongs to family, Hydrochoerus. It looks similar to its close relative the guinea pig of the family, Caviidae.
See the fact file below for more information on the capybara or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Capybara worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Capybara is native to South America.
- These mammals are fond of water and can be easily found in swampy areas, lakes, ponds, and rivers.
- They need water for keeping their skins moist which is why they are mostly found near water.
- Capybaras are also called water hogs and they sleep along the water sides in dense vegetation to keep themselves away from predators and to keep themselves cool.
- Capybaras look a lot like beavers but they have no tail.
- Capybaras can weigh up to 200 pounds. Females are heavier than males.
- Adult capybaras can reach 4 feet in length.
- They have a barrel shaped body covered with light brown shaggy hair.
- Capybaras have webbed feet, short legs, and small ears.
- Capybara is a herbivore, which means it eats plants only.
- Capybara is a rodent which means it’s similar to mice and squirrels.
- Capybara has long teeth like mice which helps them in grinding grass.
- It eats grass, fruits, and bark of trees.
- Adults eat around 8 pounds of grass daily.
- According to the San Diego Zoo, 80% of its diet comprises of five different species of grass.
- It eats grass mostly in the wet season.
- The Capybara’s jaw pivot isn’t perpendicular, so they chew sustenance by grinding their teeth forward and backward instead of side-to-side.
- Capybaras are auto coprophagous, which means they eat their own dung as a source of bacterial gut vegetation, to help process the cellulose in the grass that they eat.
- Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause gum disease in the Capybara.
- Its predators include Jaguars, Anaconda, caimans, and harpy eagles.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Hydrochaeridae
- Genus: Hydrochoerus
- Species: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Social Activities and Behavior
- When they sense danger, they make a cautioning bark which alarms different individuals from the group. Other than barking, they can murmur, whistle, screech, and snort.
- They live in small groups of 10 – 30 members. They are very social animals, mingling with other groups at the banks of rivers.
- The dominant male is in charge of the group and responsible for safety.
- During the wet season, a group may comprise of 40 capybaras and in the dry season, this number can increase to around 100.
- A gathering’s home range might be from two to 200 hectares of land, according to the San Diego Zoo.
- It is useful to have numerous capybaras keeping an eye out for the youths since they can undoubtedly succumb to caimans, ocelots, wench hawks, and boa constrictors.
- Capybaras are incredible swimmers and jumpers. They can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes.
- As crepuscular creatures, capybaras are most active at daybreak or nightfall. Now and again, however, when capybaras feel at risk, they will remain awake during the evening and rest during the day.
- Scents are another method for communication. Males discharge a substance created in their organs to mark their territory.
- Females discharge a similar substance to make the males aware that they are ready for mating.
Reproduction and offspring
- The gestation period of a Capybara can last up to 120 days.
- Normally, they have one litter per year.
- Female Capybaras can give birth to four young at a time on average, but the number of young can range from one to seven.
- Puppies weigh 2 to 3 lbs. (1 to 1.5 kg) at birth and already have teeth. They are weaned at about four months old. At 18 weeks, they weigh as much as 88 lbs.
- All the females in the groups take care of the young capybaras and protect them from predators like Jaguars.
- Despite the fact that babies eat mother’s milk until four months, they will begin to graze a few days after birth.
- When these pups are one year old, they start looking for new groups and leave their parents.
- Female Capybaras sexually mature at the age of 7 – 12 months and males mature at the age of 15 – 24 months.
- Lifespan of Capybaras is 8 – 10 years in the wild and 12 years in captivity.
Conversation and Relationship with humans
- Capybaras are recorded as least concern by the IUCN. This is on the grounds that the population is by all accounts large and not compromised, however the real number of the capybara population is unknown.
- Capybaras are threatened by deforestation, habitat destruction, and illegal poaching.
Relationship with humans
- Capybaras have recently been hunted quite extensively. Locals in the areas where they live have been catching them for their meat. They have also been seen wearing Capybara teeth on necklaces.
- Presently, capybaras are being protected in Brazil where it is illegal to hunt them, and in Venezuela, where hunting is regulated.
- This helps the survival of Capybaras in the wild and keeps their number stable.
- Capybaras have adjusted well to urbanization in South America. They can be found in numerous regions in zoos and can live for a long time in captivity.
- Capybaras are gentle and as a rule allow people to pet and hand-feed them, yet physical contact is regularly prohibited, as their ticks can be carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- The meat of a Capybara is considered as an important source of protein in some areas while it is viewed as unforgiveable to eat in other areas.
- In parts of South America, particularly in Venezuela, capybara meat is well-known amid Lent and Holy Week as the Catholic Church issues permission to enable it to be eaten at this time.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about capybara across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Capybara worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the capybara which is the world’s largest rodent and can be found in Central and South America.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Capybara Facts
- Taxonomy Profile
- Capybara Crossword
- My Capybara Vocabulary
- Jumbled up words
- Social Creatures
- Fun facts
- Photo Gallery
- Capybara Quick Quiz
- Capybara Poem
- All about Capybara
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Link will appear as Capybara Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 4, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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