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11 Crazy Capybara Facts You Never Knew

Capybaras are one of the cutest and funniest animals around - find out more about them with this crazy fact list!

Beano Team
Last Updated:ย  November 24th 2022

It is a fact that capybaras are one of the coolest animals in the world, full stop. These giant rodents may have already captured the hearts of millions, and maybe yours too if you check out our fun facts! Then hop on over here to learn some more about some other strange creatures - do you know everything about axolotls? What about honey badgers? Or quokkas?

1. They're the world's LARGEST rodents

That's right, these guys are in the same group as rats, mice and gerbils! They're most closely related to guinea pigs, but of course they're MUCH bigger. The average capybara weighs between 35-70kg, which is as heavy as some adult humans. The biggest one ever recorded wighed a whopping 91kg!

2. They live in South America

They can be found in the wild in all South American countries except Chile. They're quite iconic, even featuring on the 2-peso coin in Uruguay!

3. They're great pals

Capybaras love to live in large groups, often about 10-20, but sometimes as big as 100 capybaras! They're also famously very tolerant of other animals, nicknamed "moving chairs" because birds, rabbits and even monkeys love to sit on them!

4. They love to swim

Capybaras are semi-aquatic, which means they always live near water and like to spend their time swimming. They have webbed feet and their heads are perfectly shaped for swimming - their eyes, ears and nostrils are all at the top of their heads, meaning they can spend a long time almost totally submerged. They can even sleep in the water, with their noses sticking out of the water!

5. They're vegetarians

Capybaras are herbivorous, which means they don't eat meat. Instead they like to nibble on grass, aquatic plants, fruit and tree bark. This is good for them because their teeth grow continuously - lots of chewy vegetation helps to keep them short!

6. They're fast!

Capybaras are not just good swimmers, they're also pretty speedy on land! They can run at ground speeds of up to 35kph, which helps them escape from predators like jaguars and snakes. (For comparison, Usain Bolt's average ground speed is 37.58kph!)

7. They eat their own poo

...gross but true! There's a good reason for this though - it contains bacteria that helps them to digest their food better.

8. They're very popular in Japan

Despite not being native animals, capybaras became very beloved in Japan after the creation of a popular cartoon character called Kapibara-san (Mr. Capybara). In winter most zoos make hot baths, called onsen, for their capybaras to chill out in!

9. You might be able to have one as a pet...

... but it's something you should put a lot of thought into. In the UK it's legal to keep one as a pet, but you need a special licence and you'll have to prove you can provide enough land and water for it to live happily - and remember that they like to live in big groups. Could you look after 20 capybaras in your garden???

10. They like to sing

Capybaras have a very unique vocal range. They can purr, chirp, bark, whistle, squeak, grunt and chatter their teeth, among other sounds! Like all animals the sound depends on what they're trying to communicate to their fellow capybaras. Different groups can have different sounds, too!

11. They're very memeable

Capybaras recently became very popular online due to their funny faces, videos of them relaxing in Japanese zoos, and their tolerance for being used as a sofa by other animals. Expect to see a lot more capybaras on your timeline, if you aren't already!