Can You Have A Capybara As A Pet

Background on Capybaras

The capybara is the largest living rodent in the world. Native to South America, capybaras can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. They are semi-aquatic mammals and prefer living near bodies of water. Capybaras are herbivores and eat grasses, aquatic plants, fruits and vegetables in the wild.

Capybaras as Pets

While the idea of having a giant rodent as a pet may seem appealing, capybaras do not make good traditional pets for most people. Here are some key considerations about capybaras as pets:

Legal Restrictions

In many areas, it is illegal to keep a capybara as a pet. They are considered exotic animals and you may need special permits or licenses to own one.

Specialized Care

Capybaras require specialized diets, housing, and care. They need plenty of space to roam, a large water source to swim in, and a diet of fresh grasses and vegetables. Their care is complex and expensive.

Veterinary Care

There are few vets with expertise in capybara care. If your capybara gets sick, it may be difficult to find appropriate veterinary treatment.

Behavioral Traits

Capybaras are quite social and do best with another capybara companion. If housed alone, they may become depressed or anxious. They also require an owner willing to spend time interacting with them.


While capybaras are interesting animals, they are not suitable pets for most people. Their complex needs and specific requirements make them challenging to properly care for. If you are interested in exotic pets, experts recommend opting for more domesticated species that have been bred in captivity for life with humans.

More on Legal Restrictions for Capybara Ownership

Owning a capybara is illegal in several U.S. states, including California, Georgia, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Even in states where it is legal, city and county laws may prohibit capybara ownership or restrict ownership only to those with licenses. Permits and licenses for exotic animals often have stringent requirements for enclosures, safety protocols, and insurance coverage that can be difficult and costly to meet.

Breeding Concerns

Regulations also often prohibit or severely limit the ability to breed capybaras in captivity. This is done to discourage the establishment of invasive exotic species and to protect wild capybara populations from potential disease transmission and genetic issues from domesticated specimens.

Challenges of Capybara Veterinary Care

There are very few veterinary schools that include training on capybara medical care in their curriculum. Most vets have little hands-on experience with capybaras. Exotic vet clinics with capybara expertise tend to be located in a limited number of major metro areas. For owners in rural areas, traveling long distances to access qualified capybara vet care may be necessary.

Cost of Care

Vet visits for exotic pets like capybaras also tend to be much more expensive compared to more common domestic pets. Routine checkups, treatments, and procedures often cost several times more for capybaras. Exotic pet insurance premiums are also pricier.

#FAQ #Update #AdditionalContent

Are Capybaras Suitable as Pets?

**1. What do capybaras look like?**
Capybaras are the largest rodents on the planet. They have short legs, large heads, barrel-shaped torsos, small ears, and partially webbed feet. Coarse reddish-brown fur covers most of their body. They have an extremely small tail. Female capybaras grow a little larger than males. An adult capybara weighs between 77 and 150 pounds (35 to 68 kilograms). They stand as tall as 20 to 24 inches at the shoulders (51 to 61 centimeters).

**2. Where do capybaras live?**
Capybaras are native to Central and South America. Because they are semi-aquatic animals, they must live somewhere with easy access to water. Capybaras live in various habitats, including rainforests, scrublands, grasslands, swamps, and marshes. They prefer areas where they can easily graze and swim.

**3. What is the lifespan of a capybara?**
The average capybara lifespan in the wild is between four to eight years. Capybaras can live up to 12 years in captivity, though.

**4. What do capybaras eat?**
Capybaras are herbivores and eat grass, aquatic plants, fruits, and tree bark. They also eat their own feces as a digestive aid to break down the cellulose in the grass they consume.

**5. What are the requirements for keeping capybaras as pets?**
Keeping capybaras as pets requires significant commitments. Capybaras are social animals that need to live in groups, they need access to a large pool of water, and their enclosure must meet specific temperature requirements. It’s also important to consider the high costs associated with their care, including the need for a suitable outdoor space, heating during colder months, UVB lighting, and a proper diet.

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States Where You Can Legally Own a Pet Capybara [Updated November 2022]

**1. Where can you legally own a pet capybara in the United States?**
Capybara ownership laws vary by state in the United States, and it’s essential to know where you can legally own one.

**2. What are the general requirements for owning a pet capybara?**
Owning a capybara is a complex process due to its exotic nature. What are the general requirements and costs associated with keeping one as a pet?

**3. What are the dietary needs of a pet capybara?**
Capybaras can grow to be quite large, so understanding their dietary requirements, especially their high protein needs, is crucial.

**4. Do capybaras need access to water?**
Capybaras are semi-aquatic animals, but there are specific considerations regarding the type of water they require, including issues with chlorinated pools.

**5. In which U.S. states is it illegal to own a capybara as a pet?**
Some U.S. states have strict regulations on owning capybaras, making it almost impossible to have them as pets. Which states have these regulations in place?

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#FAQ #Update #AdditionalContent

Capybara Ownership Laws in California and Across the U.S.

**1. Can you legally own a capybara as a pet in California and other U.S. states?**
– The legality of owning a capybara varies by state, and California has strict laws against capybara ownership due to concerns about them being an invasive species.

**2. Which U.S. states explicitly ban capybara ownership?**
– Nine states, including Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, have either implicit or explicit bans on capybara ownership.

**3. Are there any specific legal requirements or permits needed to own a pet capybara?**
– Yes, owning a capybara often requires permits, health certificates, and licenses, which vary from state to state. Different state departments handle the paperwork and enforcement.

**4. What are some essential considerations before getting a pet capybara?**
– Potential capybara owners need to think about the significant expenses involved in feeding these large animals, the necessity of a saltwater pool, and the requirement to have more than one capybara for social reasons.

**5. Is it advisable to own a capybara as a pet?**
– While capybaras may have a gentle disposition, potential owners should carefully consider the legal, financial, and logistical challenges before deciding to keep one as a pet.

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