Are Capybaras Keystone Species? (All You Should Know)

This article explains to you all about Are Capybaras Keystone Species? The giant rodents on the planet are capybaras. They are substantially more significant than their guinea pig ancestors and can grow over 100 lbs (45 kg) in weight and 4 feet long, and 2 feet (0.6 m) tall.

They have a hefty, barrel-shaped body supported by relatively short front and back legs. Their grey skin can be seen through the coarse, brown fur on them. Capybaras can move over water or swampy terrain more quickly, thanks to their partially webbed feet.

The capybara’s eyes, nose, and ears are on top of its head, similar to a hippopotamus, allowing it to peep above the water’s surface for a breath of air and a fast check for predators. At the same time, the majority of its body remains submerged.

Are Capybaras Keystone Species?

The capybara is the largest rodent and a keystone species of the Pantanal, which is semi-aquatic. The tapir Tapirus terrestris is another giant mammal that usually inhabits areas that contain water.

Are Capybaras Keystone Species

Capybaras Habitat

Capybaras can be found in the following countries: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Northeast Argentina, and Uruguay. Being semi-aquatic, they like the thick vegetation along rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps, where they will spend most of their time. Capybaras typically sleep in the morning and feed primarily in the late afternoon and occasionally at night. While other group members watch, they take little naps throughout the day.

Capybaras Habitat


They are herbivores that consume other aquatic plants and the vegetation covering water sources. 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.6 kg) of fresh grass can be consumed daily by an adult capybara. Additionally, they consume their waste, which contains helpful bacteria that facilitate the breakdown of grass fiber in their stomachs. In drought or during the dry season, capybaras consume grains, melons, reeds, and squash.


Jaguars, caimans, and anacondas are naturally dangerous to capybaras, while ocelots and harpy eagles may steal their young. Humans pose the greatest threat to them, as they are heavily sought for their meat and their hide, which may be used to make leather. Capybara farming has taken up in certain nations, easing some of the impacts on wild populations. Deforestation is a menace to all residents of the rainforest.

Breeding And Population

Although capybaras can dwell in groups of up to 40, they also don’t mind living alone. Depending on the habitat they inhabit and the availability of partners, their breeding season changes throughout the year.

Every year, females typically have one litter with four to five babies. Although capybaras are thought to have a stable population overall, some small populations have been completely wiped off by people who hunt them for their skin.

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I hope you understand all about Are Capybaras Keystone Species? Capybaras will dive into the water and hide there when they feel threatened. They have a breath-holding capacity of over five minutes.

They are also incredibly loud creatures that use barks, chirps, whistles, and purrs to communicate with one another. They carry out this activity to monitor one another, and they’re young. Additionally, they communicate and mark their territory through smell glands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What animal did capybaras evolve from?

However, Herrera-Alvarez had no interest in the drought’s immediate implications. Instead, the incident piqued his interest in the origins of this absurdly adorable guinea pig-hippopotamus hybrid. He claims that the capybara is a famous animal from South America.

What are capybaras most closely related to?

They are more closely linked to guinea pigs and rock cavies than any other members of the cavy family (Caviidae). They eat by gnawing while swimming in the South American wetlands, like rodent hippopotamuses.

Is capybara meat considered fish?

Yes, during Lent, capybara, beaver, and other aquatic animals count as “fish.”

Will capybaras go extinct?

The Red List states that the mature capybara population is stable and not in danger. The majority of capybaras are found in the wild, placing them at “Least Concern” on the scale from “Extinct” to “Least Concern.”

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