What do Capybaras Eat?
You have probably met a walking ball of fluff with beady cute eyes that you could not just resist. “You think for a moment, hey that’s not a guinea pig”. Eureka, its comically large nose helps you identify it as a capybara. They have a gentle and laid-back nature that is just delightful to look at. It’s probably the cutest rodent you have seen out there, but it leaves you wondering what do capybaras eat?
Let’s explore the culinary world of this amazing rodent. Their gourmet menus will help you discover what particularly makes the taste buds of this amazing animal tingle. We will also look at the habits and some of their questionable choices. Yes, you didn’t imagine it. You probably saw our lovable friend feast on its own feces. There is a reason for this, so don’t judge. Their carefree antics are what makes them amazing creatures. With that, let’s embark on this culinary adventure to understand what sparks the epic tastes of capybaras.
What Do Capybaras Eat In The Wild?
Like most rodents, capybara are also recognized as herbivores. These cute creatures don’t stick to their heterotroph group strictly though. They scavenge and eat just about anything they can get their teeth on. Whatever is remotely edible may like to be eaten by our fluffy friend. These widely recognized vegetarians are not afraid to hunt down insects and small arthropods particularly during the dry season when food is scarce.
As herbivores, capybara have to spend a lot of time eating to actually get enough nutrients. Their diet consists of a wide variety of vegetation and fruit. Cabypbaras are known native to the grasslands and savannas of South America and boy do they love to graze on the vegetation that grows in these areas. With their front sharp teeth, they bite chunks of grass and plants and chew the food at the back of their teeth.
The types of vegetation they feed on include leaves, stems, and even barks from trees. They are known to show selective grazing habits. They are cute picky eaters known to carefully choose what they eat based on taste and nutrition. You could literally compare this behavior to that of an Italian chef. They also love fruits and are known to eat watermelons, araza, aguaje, pitanga, bacuri and so on. Overall, wild capybaras are expert grazers that have shown a diverse and selective diet.
What Do Domestic Capybaras Eat?
There is a claim that capybaras make good pets. They are social animals that are well-behaved, however, owning one comes with its own challenges which include what to feed them. If you are unable to rehabilitate a capybara to its natural habitat, then it would be best to try to feed them what’s closest to their natural feed. Well, rumor has it that Capybara steals sandwiches from people at the park. To keep your fluffy friend healthy and strong though you will have to give him a healthy diet and not sandwiches.
Some of the food you could scavenge for your rodent friend are like grass. Remember that these rodents are picky about their hay and love their nutrients. Getting oat hay or orchard grass will surely make them happy. You could also give them a variety of vegetables such as leafy kales, spinach, lettuce, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. Your capybara will surely feel like it was taken to heaven.
Pelleted food can be given to your companion as a supplement. Remember that this should not be the main diet though. Availing of Vitamin C supplements that they are unable to produce on their own will ensure they are healthy. Fresh vegetables and fruits are of course a good source. For the best results, you can give them Vitamin C supplements as directed by veterinarians.
Being the largest rodent in the world surely means that your digestive system has to be fascinating. This would be to extract the nutrients efficiently from their plant-based diet. One of the unique aspects of their digestive mechanism is the process that is referred to as coprophagy. This involves capybaras consuming their own feces to aid in the digestion process. Yes, this is the questionable choice we earlier referred to. It may seem shocking to us, but it is a highly intelligent move by Capybara as you will see.
This unappetizing yet intelligent move by these rodents is a necessary process for the rodent to get cecotropes. When Capybaras eat feces, they get cecotropes, which are soft, nutrient-rich pellets that contain bacteria and some other microorganisms. These bacteria and microorganisms break down cellulose fibers that are found in their diet. This allows for nutrients to be fully extracted as they traverse through the digestive system. It also helps re-digest the nutrients that weren’t fully absorbed.
This is a critical part to their digestion and you should not be shocked to see a domesticated or a wild capybara doing this. It highly contributes to their health and well-being. As repulsive as it seems, watching them consume their feces can be entertaining. It is one of the intricate and unique designs mother nature has bestowed us to watch in fascination.
Capybara and Water
Another interesting thing about capybaras is that they are semi-aquatic rodents. It is obvious once you see their partially webbed feet. This is to make them swim more efficiently. In fact, this rodent is an excellent swimmer that can actually win the Olympics. The webbing also ensures they are able to make them move easily through marshy and muddy terrain. It’s like they are equipped with their own water shoes.
“How is this important?” you may ask. Well, our amazing rodent does not stick to a grass diet. Not that he fishes, but he stirs up things a little. Capybaras also eat aquatic plants. These can include hyacinth, water lilies, duckweed and water lettuce. These plants are all water-rich ensuring our rodent does not feel thirsty. They are also loaded with important nutrients that make capybaras healthy.
Intriguingly, the largest rodent in the world satisfies his diet. The fact the they are equipped with webbed feet to allow this, just shows how evolution favored this rodent. They also soak in water to regulate their temperatures, it’s like their own Jacuzzi, but that’s a story for another day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can Capybara not eat?
As much as Capybaras eat anything they can get their teeth on, some foods they should definitely not eat include avocado, chocolate, caffeine, and any kind of junk food. It is important that you keep them away from junk food for their own health benefit.
What is Capybara’s favorite food?
Capybaras love their grass and aquatic plants. They love these tasty treats that are in plenty for them. They are known to graze for several hours just enjoying the juicy taste hidden within the greens.
Are Capybaras friendly?
Yes, capybaras are known for being friendly. They are social animals that hang out in groups and are even known to let other animals ride on their backs. In fact they have a symbiotic relationship with some birds. However, you should know individual personalities differ.
Do capybaras eat meat?
Capybaras are known herbivores. They occasionally snack on small insects and arthropods when food is scarce. It is shocking, but they have also been known to eat baby birds. They do love their juicy plants though.
Do capybaras bite?
Capybaras are known to be social and laid-back animals. Even though their personalities are generally laid back if they can become defensive if they feel threatened. It is important to exercise caution and give them their personal space.
How long can capybaras live?
Capybaras can live for 8-10 years in the wild but are known to live longer in captivity with proper care. If you happen to have one of these great rodents, give them the proper care they need to outlive their known wild lifespan.
It is wholesome to dive into the dietary habits of the largest rodent in the world. Their size might be intimidating, but they are just oversized guinea pigs. Apart from being social and gathering in groups, they are friendly and highly recommended by some people as worthy pets. They have a surprising taste in various cuisines nature provides to them. These splendid creatures are a work of art from mother nature. Were you shocked by them eating feces? Well, now you know it’s just nature working its magic to make sure our fluffy friend lives a long and healthy life.
Their taste in food is fascinating to look at. Known as herbivores, they sometimes shock us when they switch up their diet to insects and even baby bards. Eating bark, vegetables, and fruit is their favorite food, so don’t worry, they only turn to flesh eaters during difficult times like drought. You probably appreciate their unique taste buds, and the role they play in ensuring our rodents get a healthy diet. Next time you come across a capybara, be sure to drop a fruit.