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Caviidae - cavies, guinea pigs, maras

CapybaraThere are 18 species in this family including maras, cavies, and guinea pigs. They are all found in South America. One species, the lesser capybara, is found in Panama in Central America. They are found in a variety of habitats including mountains, grasslands, and wetlands. Most species live in groups in burrows and are active during the day. They are herbivores. Cavies and guinea pigs look similar. They have rounded bodies, short legs, large heads, no tails, and short necks. Maras look like a little bit like hares. They have long legs, and their rear legs are longer than their front legs.

The capybara is found in South America and is the largest living rodent. They stand about 1.5 feet tall and are around 4 feet long and weigh as much as 150 pounds! Capybaras have stocky bodies; reddish-brown fur; webbed toes with claws; and large heads with squared muzzles.

Capybaras are semi-aquatic and are found near lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, and marshes. In fact, capybaras can stay under water for as long as five minutes! They are excellent swimmers, Their eyes and nose are on the top of their heads so they can keep them above the water! Capybaras are herbivores and eat grasses and aquatic plants. They are very social and live in groups of 10-40 individuals led by a male. Females have 4-7 babies.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct
Status taken from ICUN Redlist. If no status is listed, there is not enough data to establish status, or there is no status data for the species.

US Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in US Endangered in US Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife and NH Fish and Game

  New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

None   Lesser Capybara - Hydrochoerus isthmius

Other Species Around the World

Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North/Central America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH Species

Brazilian Guinea Pig - Cavia aperea Least Concern South America
Shiny Guinea Pig - Cavia fulgida Least Concern South America
Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig - Cavia intermedia Critically Endangered South America
Greater Guinea Pig - Cavia magna Least Concern South America
Montane Guinea Pig - Cavia tschudii Least Concern South America
Patagonian Mara - Dolichotis patagonum Near Threatened South America
Conejo Del Palo - Dolichotis salinicola Least Concern South America
Yellow-toothed Cavy - Galea flavidens Least Concern South America
Muenster Yellow-toothed Cavy - Galea monasteriensis South America


  Common Yellow-toothed Cavy - Galea musteloides Least Concern South America
Spix's Yellow-toothed Cavy - Galea spixii Least Concern South America
Capybara - Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris Least Concern South America
Lesser Capybara - Hydrochoerus isthmius North America South America
Acrobatic Cavy - Kerodon acrobata South America
Rock Cavy - Kerodon rupestris Least Concern South America
Southern Mountain Cavy - Microcavia australis Least Concern South America
Andean Mountain Cavy - Microcavia niata Least Concern South America
Shipton's Mountain Cavy - Microcavia shiptoni Near Threatened South America

Additional Information

Key: profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

Brazilian Guinea Pig - Cavia aperea profile Photos Video Least Concern South America
The Brazilian Guinea pig is probably the ancestor of the domestic Guinea pig.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Brazilian Guinea Pig - Cavia aperea profile Photos Least Concern South America
Brazilian guinea pigs are mostly found in scrub grasslands and savannas, but they are also found in the highlands of the Andes.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Capybara - Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris profile Photos Video Least Concern South America
The capybara is the largest rodent in the world.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Capybara - Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris profile Photos Least Concern South America
Capybaras are always found near water.
Source: San Diego Zoo Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Capybara - Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris profile Photos Least Concern South America
Capybaras live in groups of around 10 adults.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Capybara - Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris profile Photos Least Concern South America
Capybaras can weigh more than 100 pounds.
Source: National Zoo Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Common Yellow-toothed Cavy - Galea musteloides profile Photos Least Concern South America
Common yellow-toothed cavies are the size of hamsters.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Patagonian Mara - Dolichotis patagonum profile Photos Video Near Threatened South America
The Patagonian mara has rabbit-like ears and a deer-like body.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Patagonian Mara - Dolichotis patagonum profile Photos Near Threatened South America
The Patagonian mara is a long-legged rodent.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Patagonian Mara - Dolichotis patagonum profile Photos Near Threatened South America
The Patagonian mara is found in central and southern Argentina.
Source: National Zoo Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Patagonian Mara - Dolichotis patagonum profile Photos Audio Near Threatened South America
The Patagonian mara is monogamous.
Source: BBC Nature Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Rock Cavy - Kerodon rupestris profile Photos Least Concern South America
The rock cavy is found in northeastern Brazil.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Rock Cavy - Kerodon rupestris profile Photos Least Concern South America
The rock cavy eats Leaves, grasses, and seeds.
Source: National Zoo Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Rock Cavy - Kerodon rupestris profile Photos Least Concern South America
Rock cavies make a variety of vocalizations, including an alarm whistle, chirps, and squeaks.
Source: Central Park Zoo Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig - Cavia intermedia Photos Critically Endangered South America
Santa Catarina's guinea pig is only found on Moleques Island do Sul, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Southern Mountain Cavy - Microcavia australis profile Photos Least Concern South America
Southern mountain cavies are found in Argentina, southern Chile, and southern Bolivia
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes