Capybara

HYDROCHOERUS HYDROCHAERIS


The Brandywine Zoo’s capybara, Candace was originally a relinquished pet and was first acquired by Franklin Park Zoo. She then moved to Elmwood Park Zoo and finally came to the Brandywine Zoo on July 2, 2014. Because she was formerly a pet, we do not know her exact birth date, but we estimate it to be December 1, 2011.

HABITAT
Forest, scrub, and grasslands

GEOGRAPHIC REGION & RANGE
South America, most of Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Columbia, south into the Argentinean pampas and west to the Andes

DIET
Wild: mainly grasses and aquatic plants only
Under Human Care: rodent blocks (which helps keep teeth healthy) and a collection of apples, carrots, yams/sweet potato, and greens

SWIMMING & AQUATIC LIFE
Capybaras are strong swimmers, helped by the fact that their bodies are only slightly denser than water. They seem to be just as at home in the water, as on land. They can even sleep underwater with just their noses sticking out to breathe. They will wallow in shallow water and mud to keep cool during a hot day and can hold their breathe for up to 5 minutes!

FUN FACTS

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent

Capybaras are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk. They spend the hottest part of the day, in the water.

Their front legs are slightly shorter than their hind legs

Capybaras have webbed feet

Their latin names Hydrochoerus and hydrochaeris both mean “water pig”

Capybaras have at least seven distinct vocalizations including guttural purrs from infants and young, alarm barks, clicks, squeaks, whistles, and grunts.

What are AZA Zoos doing for Capybara?

Capybara are managed by the RIL (Rodent, Insectivore, Lagomorph) TAG in a Yellow level SSP program. As of 2017, there were 162 capybara at 64 AZA facilities.

More images of our Capybara