Capybara are huge rodents who live in South America. In fact, they are the largest rodents in the world! They are actually distant relatives of the Agouti, who you'll also find here at the Zoo.
We currently have 7 living here, and they can be found in our South American Paddock. They are semi-aquatic and have slightly webbed toes.. 4 on their front feet and 3 on their rear feet They love the water and they can be found in forests near water. They can often be seen swimming in their pool here at the Zoo and are brilliant swimmers. They can even sleep under water with just their noses showing.
In the wild they mostly eat grass, aquatic plants, fruit and tree bark, although here we've found they eat pretty much anything, including their own house! Here's a little video of the Capybara relaxing by their pool.
In captivity they can be expected to live to up to 12 years, but in the wild it isn't common to find a Capybara who is older than 4 as they are eaten by a lot of animals, including Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Eagle, Caiman and Anaconda! They are also considered a delicacy in countries like Peru as the Catholic Church classifies it's meat as a fish so that it can be eaten during Lent.
They make a very interesting chirruping noise when they are contented, and a dog like bark when startled or scared. Interestingly they can live in groups of up to 100 individuals, although the more common number is 10-20. They breed rapidly, and gestation is between 130-150 days, and litters can range from 1 - 8 babies, although it averages 4 babies.