Capybara Size: How Much Do Capybaras Weigh?

Capybaras are known for their incredible size. There’s always something new to learn about them. On average, Capybaras weigh between 35 to 66 kg (77 to 146 lb), with an average of 48.9 kg (108 lb). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Dive into this article to learn more about their size, from adorable babies to lesser capybaras, ancient varieties, and how their weight affects their care. Get ready to be amazed!

how much do capybaras weigh
Capybaras weigh between 35 to 66 kg (77 to 146 lb)

How Much Do Capybaras Weigh?

Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. They generally weigh between 35 to 66 kg (77 to 146 lb), with an average of 48.9 kg (108 lb) observed in Venezuelan llanos. The greater capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) can grow up to 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) in length and weigh up to 79 kg (174 pounds). Female capybaras are slightly heavier than males.

What is the heaviest capybara ever recorded? The biggest capybara ever recorded was 91 kg (201 lb) for a wild female from Brazil. They are 106-134cm in length, similar to a small dog. And the highest weight for a wild male capybara was 73.5 kg (162 lb) from Uruguay. There was an 81 kg (179 lb) individual reported in São Paulo in the early 2000s.

How Much Do Baby Capybaras Weigh?

baby capybara size
Baby Capybara weighs only 2 to 4 pounds

Let’s talk about baby capybaras and their weight. Born weighing only 2 to 4 pounds, these little ones sure start tiny. But don’t let that fool you—they grow very fast! By the time they’re 18 weeks old, baby capybaras can weigh up to 88 pounds. Capybara truly grows by leaps and bounds!

How Much Do Lesser Capybaras Weigh

Ah, the lesser capybara! Did you know it’s the smaller sibling of the common capybara? While the common ones tip the scales around 35 kg (77 lb) or more, the lesser capys are a tad bit lighter. They weigh up to about 28 kg (62 lb). That’s close to half the size of their bigger cousins! 

Lesser capybara
Lesser capybaras weigh up to about 28 kg (62 lb)

But why they’re so different in size? Well, it’s all about what’s on their plate. Both species love their greens but the lesser capybara is a bit more picky. It feasts on leaves, stems, and fruits, while the larger ones munch on aquatic plants and sometimes even small turtles. 

Why the difference in menu choices, you ask? Simply put, it’s a matter of habitat. Lesser capybaras call the dry forests of Panama and Colombia their home which gives them limited access to water sources. Sadly, they’re not so common in Venezuela and face threats like hunting and habitat destruction.

Despite their striking similarities, the lesser capybara weighs less due to its restricted diet and living conditions. But hey, big or small, all capybaras are fascinating and cute, don’t you think?

Capybara’s Body Shape

Ever wondered what a capybara looks like? Picture this: a massive barrel-shaped body with a short head. That’s your capybara! These big fellas measure about 4.6 feet long and stand 2 feet tall at the shoulders.

Capybaras carry a unique charm with their heavy bodies. Their legs are short, ears are small, and they don’t have tails. But don’t be fooled; they’re all muscle and might under that reddish-brown fur, which turns yellowish-brown underneath.

Capybaras Body
Capybaras Body

Their skin is extraordinary too, with sweat glands found among the hairs. A large, elongated head, blunt muzzle, and strong incisors specializing in grass cutting make them the ultimate rodent royals!

Ancient Capybara Size

Imagine a capybara, but even bigger! That’s what you’d find if you could time-travel to the prehistoric era. Meet Neochoerus pinckneyi, an ancient capybara relative, stretching an impressive 5 feet in length! It’s like encountering a capybara on steroids.

Neochoerus pinckney
A paleoart illustration of the extinct Neochoerus Pinckneyi (Source: Wikipedia)

Boasting a massive size, modern capybaras pale in comparison. Neochoerus Pinckneyi weighed between 90-113 kg (198-249 lb), making it a whopping 40% larger than today’s capybaras and landing it a spot among the largest rodents ever discovered. They still had barrel-shaped bodies and short legs, just like their present-day relatives. But their sheer size made them standout!

So there you have it: a blast from the past with the colossal ancient capybaras. It’s thrilling to think about their evolution over time, shaping the endearing and gentle capybaras we adore today.

Capybara Size Comparison to Human

Ever wondered how capybaras measure up to humans?  Picture standing next to a large dog, but this time it’s a rodent! Capybara’s size is quite noticeable when compared to humans. They measure around 4.6 feet long and 2 feet tall at the shoulders. A fully-grown capybara can reach up to 150 pounds in weight.

Now think about an average adult human who stands around 5 to 6 feet tall. The height difference might not be drastic. But humans are usually taller. Capybaras have bulkier, barrel-shaped bodies, making their overall presence quite imposing.

capybara vs human size comparison

So, if you ever find yourself next to one of these gentle giants, be prepared for an interesting size comparison that highlights the fascinating diversity in the animal kingdom.

Capybara’s Weight in Captive

So, we know how much wild capybaras weigh. But what about those in captivity? Does their weight change?

Captive capybaras might weigh differently. Their diet and living conditions impact their weight. Better food and no food competition can lead to heavier capybaras. Owners also pay close attention to their nutrition, ensuring they stay healthy.

How Weight Affects Care

Taking care of capybaras isn’t a piece of cake! Their weight plays a big role in their habitat requirements. For starters, these big rodents need constant access to a large pool or pond. They love swimming and bathing, after all!

Socializing is a must for capybaras. They need their pals around in groups of at least 10. So, a spacious, protected enclosure is essential for them to explore and play. Make sure it has hiding places like tunnels and dens too, for a cozy escape from noise and lights.

Now, let’s talk about food. Capybaras are real foodies, gobbling up six to eight pounds of grub daily. They’re just a tad picky. They prefer high-quality grasses and aquatic plants. All that munching helps keep their ever-growing front teeth in check!

If you’re thinking about a capybara as a pet, do your homework. With proper care and attention to their unique needs, your gentle giant will thrive. And remember, capybaras are the world’s largest rodents, weighing up to 150 pounds or more! That’s a lot of love to give and receive!


So, now that you know their unbelievable size, you might be excited to meet one and give them a warm cuddle!  Wild or captive, ancient or modern – all capybaras are special to us. Next time you see a capybara, take a moment to enjoy its uniqueness. You can always visit a zoo or, with proper care, have one as a pet like a cat or a dog. Let these adorable creatures fill your world with joy and fascination!