Capybaras are gentle giants that can be found throughout South America in its grasslands and wetlands. For those who are interested in learning more about the best places to see capybaras, you’ll want to keep the following information in mind.
Facts About Capybaras
• This animal is native to South America and lives in almost every country on the continent except for Chile.
• It is believed to be one of the largest rodents in the world and is related to chinchillas and guinea pigs.
• Capybaras enjoy swimming and have webbed toes to help them paddle through waterways easily. Swimming also helps them to escape possible predators, such as anacondas and jaguars.
• They can grow to be anywhere from 39 to 51 inches long.
• Capybaras often live in groups of 10 that travel together.
• This animal has a heavy appetite for grass can eat up to eight pounds of it per day.
• Capybaras serve as a resting perch for numerous animals, such as birds and monkeys, who want a break from walking or flying. Capybaras don’t mind this and can be found grazing for food while another animal sits on their back.
Where to See Capybaras
Capybaras can be seen throughout South America, mainly in countries such as Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, and Columbia. While they can be found trekking through the Amazon Rainforest, they often enjoy venturing out into large grasslands to find shelter and food. You’ll also find them in wetlands as they provide the capybara plenty of protection from predators while also supplying them with enough fruit, grass, reeds, and grains to eat.
For those who might not want to go deep into the rainforest or other similar areas, you can explore Pantanal or Los Llanos. Pantanal is a vast wetland situated mainly in Brazil but also extends into Paraguay and Colombia. On the other hand, Los Llanos is a thick grassland covering much of the Andes. You are bound to see numerous capybaras walking together through them.
While you are more likely to find capybaras in the wild, sometimes a few might wander near populated towns and cities. Keep in mind though that this is usually uncommon due to loud noises and a lack of food. If you’re adamant about seeing one, you’ll need to venture out into nature.
Best Time of the Day to See Capybaras
Capybaras are crepuscular so you are more likely to see them during the early morning or dusk. Because they are also nocturnal, capybaras will often venture out during the night while spending their day resting. This unique time schedule is due to the darkness giving capybaras protection from predators. If you want to see a capybara, you’ll need to head out early in the morning or late evening to catch a glimpse of one.
Best Time of the Year to See Capybaras
While you can see capybaras anytime during the year, your best chance of viewing one is from May to October which is the dry season in the region. During the dry season, capybaras will usually congregate together around waterways to stay hydrated and cool from the hot sun giving you the chance to see more than one at once.
Tips for Seeing Capybaras
If you’re interested in seeing a capybara, you’ll want to consider these tips.
Look for Grassy Areas
If you want to see a capybara, you need to make sure to keep an eye out for thick grassy areas. Capybaras adore grass, and where there is a lot of it growing, they are sure to be there. Better yet, if there are marshes or swamps within the grasslands you have a greater chance of seeing one as this tends to be a prime habitat for them.
Check Around the Edge of Wetlands
As mentioned above, capybaras not only enjoy visiting grasslands, but wetlands as well. While you have a better chance of seeing them in grasslands, you should also check the edge of wetlands where you might find a few searching for melons or about to go for a swim.
Visit Protected Areas
Capybaras are often hunted by animals and humans in the area, but there are a few protected spots, such as the Tambopata National Reserve, where they can graze and live peacefully. Thanks to this, they become somewhat bold and can often be found sunbathing along the edge of rivers.
Loud noises can spook capybaras which could cause them to run off or even start barking and chattering as a way to help defend themselves. In some cases, if you cause major stress to them, they could try biting you which can cause a very painful injury. Being quiet helps to not only ensure that the capybaras aren’t scared off, but that you are able to easily observe these mammals in their natural habitat.
Can I Pet a Capybara?
While tamed capybaras in zoos and rehabilitation centers often enjoy being touched, wild capybaras are sometimes skeptical of being petted by humans. However, capybaras are very friendly and curious animals and will sometimes come up to you. Despite this, it’s not recommended that you pet a wild capybara as they could become defensive and bite you. You could also risk catching a disease from doing so.
Can You Feed Capybaras?
It’s not usually the best idea to feed a wild capybara as they could follow you around searching for more food. That being said, it is not illegal to feed a capybara, but should only be local grass or food they can find in the wild. You should never feed a capybara human food as it could make them sick. Overall, it’s best to stay on the safe side and let capybaras find their own food.
Capybaras are friendly animals that can be found throughout South America. While friendly and curious, they can also be a little shy, which could make seeing one difficult sometimes. However, if you venture out to grasslands or wetlands, you are bound to see a few mingling together.