Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (Capybara)
Capybaras are the largest living rodent originating from tropical grassland and freshwater areas in South America. Their head and body length is between 100 – 130 cm and they can weigh up to 61 kg.
The limbs of Capybara are short and the head is relatively broad. Their forefeet have four toes and their hind feet have three, all of which are partially webbed with short strong claws making Capybara very strong swimmers. These semi aquatic mammals generally mate in water. After a gestation of around 130 days the female will give birth to between 2 – 8 young who will be weaned at 16 weeks.
They are herbivores feeding mainly on grasses. Their zoo diet includes hay, vegetables and pellet.
Capybaras have a captive lifespan of up to 12 years but in the wild on average they live less than 4 years because they are the favourite food of Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Eagle and Caiman.