Capybaras Are The Largest Rodents in the World

Posted by Megan Swinney
capybara pet

Looking for rodent that's a little different than the average gerbil, hamster, or mouse? Venture into the world of exotic rodents with capybaras! 

Sugar gliders, capybaras, and wallabies are just a few of the exotic creatures that you can legally welcome into your household. 

As with choosing any pet, it is important to do your research and have a full understanding of their needs before bringing a pet capybara home; a number of exotic pets are nocturnal, and many of them are social and need to live in a group.

But if you plan accordingly, you may end up with the best -- and coolest -- pet you've ever had.

Where Does the Capybara Come From?

The capybara (hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is one of the world's largest rodents and an adult capybara can weigh up to 140 pounds! Wild capybara's come mostly from South America; These South American cuties are typically seen in Brazil and Panama.

They're semi-aquatic animals, so if you're looking to adopt a capybara, they'll definitely need access to water in order to swim around. A baby capybara drinks milk up to 6-8 months, but they can leave their mother at 14 days and be bottle fed.

Where Can You Legally Own a Pet Capybara?

This semi-aquatic rodent is legal to own in Texas, Pennsylvania, and parts of New York. In some states, they are legal but require licenses. Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Washington and North Carolina are states where you can likely own a pet capybara. They are illegal to own in California and Georgia.

However, your capy will likely need to have a license, and some of the states are very strict when it comes to issuing licenses for these unusual pets. If you're unsure, check with your local fish and wildlife to see what you need to do before deciding to bring home a capybara as a pet.

How Much is a Capybara Pet?

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These semi-aquatic animals may make good pets, but they are rather expensive to acquire. Some areas like Texas and Florida have breeders that you can buy a pair from. If you are feeling brave, you can purchase a breeding pair and sell the baby capybaras yourself.

But where do you find exotic pets for sale? You can search online for reputable pet sellers or breeders in your area. A capybara will run anywhere from $1,000 all the way up to $4,000. Just remember that you really should not buy a single capybara. They do not do well on their own and should be purchased as a pair.

Behavior and Temperament

It is important to remember that even though you may treat a capybara as a pet, they are still a wild animal. They are often compared to guinea pigs since their appearance almost resembles a giant guinea pig.

Although mostly adorable and sweet, capybaras can be a challenging pet. They do better in groups as they are extremely social animals, so pet owners should avoid getting a single capybara.

Capybaras also have a tendency to eat their own poop -- a rather disgusting habit that can be a turn off to some potential pet owners.

Housing For Your Capybara

According to Capybara World, since these rodents are not small pets, they need a lot of space to run around.The best environment for a capybara pet is an enclosure where they have access to water because they love to swim. It is best if they have one or more swimming pools for playing.

These excellent swimmers are also very fast runners. When releasing a new capybara into their home, you want to make sure the enclosure is shut so they do not run away. Capybaras are herbivores, and these big rodents like to graze. Make sure their home includes plenty of space for eating fresh grasses on top of their supplemental food. It is important that capybara's get enough Vitamin C in their diets, too.

Famous Capybara Pets

Caplin Rous, a capybara pet in Texas, was quite the popular rodent. He passed away but his owner Melanie Typaldos still runs the Rous Foundation to raise funds for the care of capybara pets and those that live in zoos and preserves. They are also a great resource if you need information for your capybara pet.

JoeJoe the capybara also had quite the following, along with Dobby the capybara. Both lived on Stacy's Funny Farm and with plenty of space to run around and swim. Both of these pet capybara's died in 2018 within month of each other.

Do you or anyone you know, live with exotic animals? Let us know over on our Wide Open Pets Faceook page!

READ MORE: Bengal Cats Are Like Mini Leopards

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Capybaras Are The Largest Rodents in the World