Capybaras are enthusiastic and active creatures. They don’t harm anyone except if anyone tries to break them first. Though they are naturally from South America, they are present worldwide and could be in zoos or homes.
Capybaras can be a fun company to hang around. They like to cuddle other capybaras and humans. This article will tell you surprising and unique fun facts about Capybaras.
They Are Semi-Aquatic
Like all rodents, capybaras are semi-aquatic. They can live on land and the ground; they spend a part of their time underwater and part of it on land. During the summer season, they spend most of their day time underwater and come back to the ground for food during the night.
Capybaras can stay submerged underwater for 5 minutes, and then they have to bring their nose out to breathe. Capybaras can also sleep underwater; they leave their nose out of the water and the rest of their body inside the water.
Size And Weight Of Capybaras
Capybaras have large sizes and weights, the largest of all the rodents. They have a giant size for a pure herbivore because of the amount of grass and herbs they eat. They eat only specific food. Even as pets, they only eat grass. They don’t have any artificial pet feed that they can eat.
They are 40-50 inches long and 20 inches tall from the bottom to the shoulder. They are a lot longer along the ground than they are tall. That makes them look like they are not very huge, but actually, they are pretty deceptive with their size at first glance.
They Are Cousins Of Guinea Pigs
Capybaras are closely related to guinea pigs; they are similar-looking members of the same genus (i.e., Caviidae). They both eat almost the same food. Both guinea pigs and capybaras are rodents of enormous size. Because of these similarities, guinea pigs are referred to as cousin capybaras. Another similarity between capybaras and guinea pigs is both eat their poop, which helps them digest their food.
Other closely related animals of capybaras are rats, mice, hamsters, and squirrels. These all are also part of the rodent family and are all herbivores.
They Enjoy Cuddling
Capybaras are very loving; they like interacting with their owners, other capybaras, or even strangers. Capybaras have very soft bodies, so you will always have fun while playing with them. Capybaras are very sensitive to touch, so you have to be careful if you will do it for the first time.
Even at the zoos, if you see a group of capybaras, you can grab one to cuddle and have fun. But you have to be careful, and you should not run too fast or try to force them if they are unwilling to play with you.
They Eat Their Poop
Capybaras eat their poop in the morning, the first thing of the day. The rain behind it may not be as weird as you think. The poop has a large number of microbes from the previous day. Which helps them digest the food they eat the next day.
Especially during the summer season, good grass for the diet of capybaras is not available easily. So, capybaras eat different fruits and grains to keep them nutritious. The fruits have extra fibres, making them difficult to digest. That’s why during summer, capybaras eat their poop often.
There Actual Population Is Unknown
The individuals of the capybaras are so widespread that it is difficult to count the actual number of the species or even have a close estimate. Many zoologists have tried to break that, but they were unsuccessful. Now, most scientists agree that it is impossible to count the population of capybaras.
Though there is one research that shows that the population of capybaras is 1.4 billion, it is a very vague figure, and there is not much proof of that being true. But as it is the only one that gives us an estimated figure, we should believe it.
They Are Born In Groups
Male and female capybaras mate underwater, and the gestation period lasts for five months. After the gestation period, the litter is released, and there are 3-6 baby capybaras in the litter. These litters are like groups of capybara siblings born and raised together. These litter members usually stay together for the rest of their lives.
Any Female In The Group Can Nurse Them
Capybaras live in unity and harmony; that’s why they can feed each other’s babies. Baby capybara can be provided by any female group member because there are many babies simultaneously. Mothers of capybaras can’t feed them all. So other female capybaras help them.
Female Capybaras Mature Earlier Than Male
At the age of about 9 to 12 months, a female capybara is fully matured and can sexually reproduce. While in the case of male capybaras, 12-15 months. That is because male capybaras have a more complex reproductive structure to build than female capybaras. However, both males and females feed on breast milk simultaneously, i.e., for four months.
How Fast Can Capybaras Run?
You would expect capybaras to be very slow with all the weight and size. But in reality, it is quite the opposite. Capybaras can run as fast as 20 MPH (or 33 kph). They can run way faster than a guinea pig.
It is almost the same with swimming; they can go about 21 MPH (35 kph) underwater. Though the underwater speed is fast enough to escape the predators (in most cases), on land and in the wild, this speed can not help them get away from a predator.
Capybaras are unique and exciting animals with scarce qualities. They can live underwater and on land. They have a large size and weight just by eating grass. They eat their poop just like their cousin’s guinea pig. They run and swim fast, which is about the same, i.e., 34 kph. They are born in groups called litters which any female can feed. Female capybaras sexually mature earlier than male capybaras.