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Are you considering getting a capybara as a pet? These fascinating creatures are the largest rodents in the world and have become increasingly popular as unique companions. Before making a decision, it’s important to understand everything about capybaras to ensure they are the right choice for you.

1. Understanding Capybaras

1.1 What is a Capybara?

A capybara is a semi-aquatic mammal native to South America. They have a unique appearance, resembling a cross between a large guinea pig and a beaver. Capybaras are highly social animals that form close bonds with their human owners.

1.2 Capybara Behavior and Temperament

Capybaras are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They thrive on attention and enjoy being around their owners. However, it’s essential to note that capybaras are not like traditional pets such as dogs or cats. While they can be trained to some extent, they still retain their wild instincts.

1.3 How Big is a Capybara?

Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world, reaching an average weight of 77 to 146 pounds and measuring about 2 to 2.5 feet in height. They are significantly larger than most domestic pets, requiring ample space to roam and exercise.

1.4 Where Do Capybara Live?

In the wild, capybaras are native to South America, where they inhabit forests, grasslands, and swamps near water sources. As pets, they require an environment that replicates their natural habitat, with access to water for swimming and vegetation to graze on.

2. Is It Legal to Own a Capybara as a Pet?

2.1 US States Which Allow Capybara Ownership

While capybara ownership is legal in certain US states, it’s essential to check the specific regulations in your area. Some states require permits or licenses to keep capybaras as pets, while others prohibit ownership altogether. It’s crucial to research and comply with local laws to ensure legal ownership.

3. The Pros and Cons of Keeping a Capybara

3.1 Pros of Owning a Capybara

There are several advantages to owning a capybara as a pet. They are highly social animals and can form strong bonds with their owners. Capybaras are generally gentle creatures and can provide companionship, especially for those seeking a unique pet experience.

3.2 Cons of Owning a Capybara

It’s important to consider the cons of owning a capybara as well. They require a significant amount of space due to their large size and need for social interaction. Additionally, their diet is specialized and consists primarily of grasses and other vegetation, which may be a challenge for some owners to provide consistently.

4. Caring for a Pet Capybara

4.1 Creating Adequate Living Space

Providing an appropriate living environment is crucial for capybara care. They need access to a large outdoor space with plenty of vegetation and water for swimming. Fencing should be secure and capybaras should never be kept indoors permanently.

4.2 Providing the Right Diet for Capybaras

Capybaras are herbivores and their diet primarily consists of grass, hay, and fresh vegetables. It’s important to ensure they have a constant supply of fresh food to graze on. Certain supplements may also be necessary to meet their nutritional needs.

4.3 Training and Handling Capybaras

Training and handling capybaras require patience and positive reinforcement. It’s crucial to establish a bond of trust and respect with your capybara to ensure their safety and well-being. Gentle handling and consistent training can help shape their behavior and prevent any potential issues.

5. Capybara Care Costs

5.1 How Much Does a Capybara Cost?

The cost of a capybara can vary depending on various factors such as availability and location. On average, the initial cost of purchasing a capybara ranges from $1,500 to $3,500. However, it’s important to note that the costs do not end there, as ongoing expenses for food, veterinary care, and habitat maintenance should also be considered.

5.2 Additional Expenses of Owning a Capybara

In addition to the initial cost, owning a capybara entails additional expenses. These include habitat setup and maintenance, veterinary visits, vaccinations, and potential grooming and dental care. It’s crucial to consider these costs before deciding to bring a capybara into your home.

6. Alternatives to Capybaras as Pets

6.1 Similar Pets to Consider

If capybaras are not the right fit for your lifestyle, there are alternative pets that offer similar characteristics. Some options to consider include guinea pigs, rabbits, or small breed dogs. These pets still provide companionship and can be more manageable in terms of size and care requirements.

7. Final Thoughts: Is a Capybara the Right Pet for You?

Deciding to bring a capybara into your home is a significant commitment. While they can be rewarding companions, they require specialized care and dedication. Consider their unique needs, space requirements, and legal considerations before making a decision. Ultimately, the right pet for you will depend on your lifestyle, resources, and ability to meet the needs of a capybara.


Q: Are capybaras good pets for children?

A: While capybaras are generally friendly, they may not be suitable for young children. They require responsible handling and supervision due to their size and unique needs. It’s important to assess the maturity and ability of children to interact with capybaras before considering them as pets.

Q: Can capybaras live indoors?

A: Capybaras are semi-aquatic animals and require access to outdoor spaces with water sources and vegetation. While they can be brought indoors for short periods, they should never be permanently kept indoors as it can negatively impact their physical and mental well-being.

Q: Do capybaras make noise?

A: Capybaras are generally quiet animals. They communicate through vocalizations such as chirps, whistles, and purrs, but these sounds are usually not loud or disruptive. However, it’s important to consider noise regulations and the potential impact on neighbors before owning a capybara as a pet.

Q: Are capybaras prone to any health issues?

A: Capybaras can be prone to certain health issues, including dental problems, obesity, and skin conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups, a proper diet, and providing adequate environmental enrichment can help prevent and manage these health concerns.

Q: Can capybaras be trained like dogs?

A: While capybaras are intelligent and can be trained to some extent, it’s essential to remember that they still possess their wild instincts. Training should focus on reinforcing positive behavior and ensuring their safety rather than expecting them to perform complex commands like dogs.

Q: How long do capybaras live?

A: Capybaras have a lifespan of around 8 to 12 years in the wild. In captivity, with proper care and environment, they can live up to 12 to 15 years. Providing a nutritious diet, regular veterinary care, and a stimulating environment can contribute to their longevity.


Owning a capybara can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it requires careful consideration and preparation. Understanding their behavior, specific care needs, and legal requirements are essential before bringing a capybara into your home. By weighing the pros and cons and ensuring you can provide for their well-being, you can make an informed decision about whether a capybara is the right pet for you.

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