Capybara Fact Sheet
A constant source of water is important to capybaras, who retreat into murky waters to escape from predators like jaguars, anacondas, caimans, pumas, ocelots. One of the largest snakes in the world, the green anaconda can Green anacondas feed on large rodents, deer, fish, peccaries, capybaras. Traditional classifications consider capybara to be in its own family, the . by foxes, ocelots, cayman, raptors, occasional possums (attacking infants), anaconda.
Capybara Anatomy and Appearance The Capybara is a heavy, stocky-looking animal with a short head and muzzle in comparison to its body and hardly any tail at all. They have short but sturdy limbs and hoof-like claws on their toes which along with the webbing, helps the Capybara both when negotiating the slippery banks and with swimming and also prevents the Capybara from sinking too deeply into the surrounding mud.
Their coarse, short fur is pale to dark brown in colour with varying tinges of yellow, red and grey and is perfectly designed to dry out quickly once the Capybara is back on land. One of the Capybara's most distinctive features is the fact that their eyes, ears and nostrils are all positioned on top of its head meaning that they still have excellent sight, sound and smell whilst in the water. The placement of these features also means that when threatenedthe Capybara can retreat into the water only leaving these parts of its body exposed to hide from potential predators.
Capybara Distribution and Habitat The Capybara is found throughout a variety of habitats in Central and South America providing that there is a constant source of standing freshwater. They are found in PanamaColombiaVenezuela and Perudown through Brazil and Paraguay and into northern Argentina and Uruguay where they are most commonly found in swamps, marshes, rivers and lakes.
The Capybara can be found inhabiting grassy plains and even in rainforests where they occupy territories in herds, with these areas reported to be adequate territories year round even with the differing seasons. During the dry season the Capybara must have water and areas where they are able to feed often small sandbars in the waterbut in the wet season when the area floods they must still be able to graze which they often do on the grassy banks.
Capybara Behaviour and Lifestyle The Capybara is a very sociable animal that tends to inhabit densely vegetated areas close to water in herds of around 20 individuals, which are usually made up of a dominant male with a number of females and their young. Capybara herds occupy very stable home ranges that are known to vary in size depending on the size of the herd to ensure that there is enough food, and although small parts of their territory may overlap those of another herd, they will tend chase intruders off their patch.
The Capybara actually sleeps very little, preferring instead to doze whilst resting during the morning in thickets on the banks, or wallowing in the mud and water when cooling down in the heat of the midday sun. They begin to emerge onto land in the early evening when they graze on grasses and aquatic plants which the Capybara will continue to do throughout most of the night.
Capybara Reproduction and Life Cycles In a Capybara herd it is only the dominant male that has the breeding rights to the females, and although it can occur all year round depending on the conditions, the breeding season tends to be during the rains in April and May. After a gestation period that lasts for around five months, the female Capybara gives birth to between 1 and 8 pups on land.
Capybara young are very well developed at birth and not only have all their fur and can see, but are also able to run, swim and dive within hours of birth. The female rejoins the main group within hours with her newborn offspringwhich begin to eat grass after about a week although they will continue to suckle milk from their mother until they are around four months old.
The Capybara tends to live for up to 10 years in the wild and slightly longer when kept in captivity. Capybara Diet and Prey The Capybara is a herbivorous animal that only eats plant matter in order to acquire all of the nutrients it needs. The diet of the Capybara is mainly made up of grasses and aquatic plants, along with fruits and berries and the occasional munch on soft tree bark. Like all other species of rodent, their two front teeth grow continuously throughout their life meaning that they must gnaw and chew their food to grind them down which they do in a back and forth motion rather than from side to side.
Habitat Anacondas live in tropical rivers and swamps, either in the rainforests or grasslands. They thrive in the heat, humidity and dense foliage of the rainforest, according to the San Diego Zoo. They spend most of their time swimming or lurking in murky, sluggish rivers and slow-moving streams.
They sun themselves on branches hanging over water, which they can easily drop into if needed. Behavioral habits Anacondas are most active in the early evening and at night. Their large size makes them cumbersome on land but they can move swiftly in the water.
They are solitary snakes and green anacondas have their own home territories, according to ADW. They are adaptable, and snakes that live in grasslands sometimes buy themselves in mud and become dormant during the dry season. Anacondas have nostrils and eyes on the tops of their heads, which allow them to see above the water while remaining mostly submerged.
Feeding habits and diet Anacondas, like all boas, are nonvenomous. They restrain their prey with their sharp, curved teeth and apply their constrictive killing technique. There are some common misconceptions about how that constricting works, said Heyborne.
One is that it crushes or breaks the bones of the prey. Anacondas eat a variety of animals. Female anacondas sometimes eat males. Once the prey is dead, anacondas swallow it whole.Anaconda Devours World's Largest Rodent - World's Deadliest
They have a large, unfused ligament on each side of their mandibles and mobile joints in their jaws that allow them to open their jaws wide enough to get around large prey. Their stretchy skin and lack of sternum allows their body to change shape to accumulate their dinner, according to Rivas. Green anacondas are apex predators, meaning that they are at the top of their food chain, according to ADW. Sometimes, however, going after large animals like jaguar and caiman can result in serious injuries or death.
After feeding, anacondas can go weeks or months without eating again. Reproduction and lifespan During the spring, females leave a scent trail or emit an airborne chemical to attract males.
While females stay in more or less the same location during mating season, males travel great distances to find females.
Males have been observed sticking out their tongues to pick up female scents, according to the San Diego Zoo. Like much of their lives, anaconda mating takes place in or near the water. Anacondas form breeding balls, giant snake swarms in which two to 12 males coil around one female and slowly wrestle for the chance to mate with her.
Breeding balls can last for as long as four weeks. Though the males may win by strength, sometimes the female — who is larger and stronger than the males — choses who she wants. Females may mate with several males during the season.
After mating, females carry their embryos inside their bodies while they gestate for seven months. During this time, females do not feed, possibly because hunting carries the risk of injury, which could harm the babies.
Capybara - Wikipedia
Inside the mother, embryos are attached to a yolk sac and surrounded by a membrane. When it is time for them to be born, they are pushed out through the cloaca. They are born still in the membrane and must break it. Mothers do not care for their young, who instinctively know how to survive on their own.