Capybara Care

When you hear the word ‘rodent’, do you think of rats and mice? These little animals can make cute pets, but their wild cousins are often unwelcome. However, the rodent family tree also contains the capybara: a super cute, smart, and lovable fellow that looks a lot like a giant Guinea pig. A LaPorte, IN vet discusses capybara care below.


The capybara is a giant among rodents: they can get up to 4 feet long, and can weigh up to 200 pounds. That’s larger than most dogs! They are very sociable, so plan on getting at least two.


Capybaras need quite a lot of room. Outdoor enclosures are the best option. You can fit up to three in a 12 x 20 foot enclosure, but bigger is always better. Ideally, your pets should also have a fenced area where they can either bask in the sun or relax in the shade, depending on the weather. Sturdy fencing is definitely a must here. If you don’t have suitable outdoor space, provide light on a timed 12-hour cycle. You can use hay for bedding.


Extreme heat and extreme cold are both hard on capybaras. If temperatures go below about 45, you’ll need a heat lamp. Set this up carefully, as your pets could start a fire if they knock it over or chew on the wires!


Capybaras are semi-aquatic, and must soak regularly to keep their skin healthy. They need swimming holes, which should be at least 4 feet deep. This should be designed with a slope, so your pets can walk in and out.

Veterinary Care

Capybaras are usually pretty hardy, but they do need some care, such as exams, vaccinations, and parasite control. You’ll need a vet that is experienced with rodents and/or exotics.


Capybaras are not legal everywhere. Check state and local ordinances before adopting any!


Capybaras are vegetarians, so their diets should consist of mostly grass, supplemented with fresh produce, aquatic plants, bread, grass hay, cattle pellets, and safe fruits and veggies. They can actually make pretty adorable lawnmowers! Ask your vet for recommendations.


Like many other small critters, capys have open-rooted teeth, which never stop growing. You’ll need to provide plenty of branches and other suitable chews. Birch is a good option.

Do you have questions about capybara care? Contact us, your LaPorte, IN animal clinic, today!

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