Sometimes referred to as the giant guinea pig, the capybara comes from South America and is the world's largest rodent species, growing up to 1.5 metres in length.

They can be found living in small herds on grassland, in tropical rainforest, as well as in wetlands across most of the continent. Capybaras spend much of their time in the water.

Their scientific name means ‘water pig’, and their bodies have been specially adapted for swimming - with webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils located on top of their heads.

They're able to stay submerged in water for around five minutes with very little of their body showing - helping them to avoid detection by predators such as jaguars, anacondas and caiman.

While the capybara is not currently classified as an endangered species, it is threatened by habitat degradation and illegal poaching for its meat and skin, which can be turned into leather. 


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Interesting facts

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Where they live: South America

Habitat: Wetlands, grasslands, tropical rainforests

Size: Up to 1.5m in length

Weight: Up to 60kg

Threats: Threatened by habitat degradation and illegal poaching for its meat and skin, which can be turned into leather

Scientific Name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris