1 minute read

Capybara: Hydrochaeridae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Capybaras And PeopleGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS

Capybaras are found on the eastern side of the Canal Zone in Panama, and on the east side of the Andes Mountains in South America, including Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and northeastern Argentina.

Capybaras live in areas of dense trees and plants near rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps. There are four areas in South America where there are large concentrations of capybaras: the llanos (plains) in Venezuela, the Pantanal wetlands in western Brazil, the Taim lowlands in southern Brazil, and Marajó Island, at the mouth of the Amazon River in northeastern Brazil.

The capybara is not currently threatened, according to the IUCN. Hunting and exterminations by humans have caused populations to decline in some areas, particularly Venezuela and Peru, while they remain stable in others. However, some conservationists say the overall numbers are in decline.



Alho, C. J. R., Z. M. Campos, and H. C. Gonçalves. "Ecology, Social Behavior, and Management of the Capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) in the Pantanal of Brazil." In Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy, edited by K. H. Redford and J. F. Eisenberg. Gainesville, FL: Sandhill Crane Press, 1989.

Herrera, E. "Reproductive Strategies of Female Capybaras: Dry-Season Gestation." In The Behaviour and Ecology of Riparian Mammals, edited by N. Dunstone and M. L. Gorman. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Macdonald, David. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.


Johnson, Owain. "World's Largest Rodent Risks Extinction." United Press International (September 20, 2002.)

Jones, Bart. "In Venezuela, Rodent Has Cuisine Status." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (August 18, 1999): D12.

Rowe, D., and R. Honeycutt. "Ecological Correlates, Molecular Evolution, and Phylogenetic Relationships within the Rodent Superfamily Cavioidea." Molecular Biology and Evolution 19, no. 3. (2002): 263–277.

Thomas, Z., et al. "On the Occurrence of the Capybara , Hydrochaerus hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1776) in the Dry Chaco of Paraguay (Mammalia: Rodentia: Hydrochaerus.)" Faunistische Abbandlungen Dresden 22, no. 2 (2002): 423–429.

Web sites:

Ciszek, D., and C. Winters. "Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Hydrochaeris_hydrochaeris.html (accessed on July 12, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals