Capybaras are the largest of rodents and can weigh up to 150 to 200 lb. They sort of resemble a giant smooth-coated guinea pig. They are related to guinea pigs.
Capybara's have large guinea pig shaped bodies, with a large head. They have small, rounded ears, which along with their nostrils can be sealed when they are in or under the water. Capybara enjoy swimming and have partially webbed feet to aid them when in the water.
Mating is year round, however usually happens in April and May and again in the fall, and takes place in the water. Most of the time females have one litter per year, although two litters are not uncommon. Average litter size is 5 - but ranges from 5-8. Gestation is 120-150 days. With babies weighing 3 lb. The young can follow the mother from birth and reach sexual maturity at 15 months. They can live up to 12 years in captivity.
They run with a similar gait to a horse. When in danger they will retreat to the water where they can swim great distances under water. In the wild its diet consists of grasses, water plants and vegetables.
As pets :
Capybara can make captivating pets, but you should definitely have them neutered. Males can become aggressive, territorial and frustrated. If you do have one, neutering should take place between 6-9 months of age. They are intelligent and can be trained to do various tricks, such as sit, beg, and more. They are affectionate and very clean animals. If gotten young, you can train your capybara to walk on a leash. I would suggest a harness type lead, such as used for pot belly pigs. They are slow and deliberate movers though, so don't expect to work miracles <g> You won't be taking your pet capybara out jogging with you !
An enclosure for a capybara should be strong enough to prevent escape, they are known to be diggers. They should have a shelter ( large dog house, etc. ), mounds of grass and hay, and a tub of water to play in. A large child's pool would do nicely.
Capybara will eat most anything ! Seeds, fruits, vegetables, grass, hay, etc. You can also feed rabbit chow etc. as a supplement to their diet of hay and vegetables. They are rodents, and do NEED non toxic items to chew, such as willow or birch branches.