Why do Capybaras Like to Live near Water?

Capybara is the Sailfish of the rodent family! The best swimmer award among the rodent has always been for them. But swimming is just their hobby; do they need water for their survival? 

Or it’s just what they love? Well, Capybaras require water for living and it has been a part of their lifestyle. Why do capybaras like to live near water- do you want to know? 

Why do Capybaras Like to Live Near Water

They live, feel safer, and feed on the semi-aquatic environment. We have listed the reasons why the giant rodents love the water here, take a look! 

Why do Capybaras Love Water? 

If you have ever seen a capybara or read about it, you already know they love to stay near water. Do capybaras live near water? Of course, they do!

Not only staying near water but they enjoy living where there is a waterline. The rodents enjoying the water already explain their nature as semi-aquatic beings. 

Capybara get utmost advantages from water

Though they are the largest rodent found so far, they are social. The semi-aquatic feature in their characteristics already shows why they are located where they are located. 

These mammals are found mostly in all the countries of South America. Without Chile, they live in almost all the countries there. However, they don’t live everywhere in those countries. The rodents select the tropical rainforests mostly for living. 

Along with this, their favorite spot for living is near the rivers, lakes, and ponds. Also, they are seen near the marshes and swamps. To learn more about their geographical location, check out ‘where do Capybaras live.’

So, what’s the reason for them to be a lover of the aquatic environment? Why is their lifestyle so connected to water? We have summarized the reasons behind them being so into water. 

The Skin

So, why do capybaras love baths in the water? It is just their hobby? Yes, it’s their hobby but first, it’s their need. The first reason for the capybaras to love water is their skin. They have dry skin. As a result, if they do not nourish their skin with water, the skin tends to dry out sooner. 

And to keep their skin moist, the only thing that can help is the water. This is why they pick up the places where there are abundant sources of water to keep their skin moist. Along with the challenges they face regarding their predators, keeping their skin moist is one too. 

In the wet weather, the skin stays a bit wet which helps them. But in the dry weather, their skin tends to get rough and dry. Keeping all these in mind, we can say that water is a key element of a capybara’s life. 


Do capybaras like to swim in the water? Oh, Capybaras love swimming and most people see them swimming almost half of their days. They require the ability to loll in the water. Along with this bathing in water is necessary for them to keep their skin in perfect condition. 

However, apart from the skin situation, they love swimming as their hobby too. A hobby is an understatement here; you must know that these giant rodents are obsessed with water. They are amazing jumpers and they love to dive into the water for cooling off and enjoying. 

The daily activities of a capybara can’t be fulfilled without water and swimming. No matter whether a capybara is in the wild or kept pet, the area must have enough water. In this case, if you are settling for a pool, you need to make sure that the water is 3 feet deep. 

Can you have a capybara as a pet– check it out to know more! Also, while keeping it as a pet, remember that a capybara is large. And to cover its whole body, you will surely need enough water for them to go underwater and enjoy the exercise. This is why capybaras live near the water sources- they can’t skip what they love, right?

Food Habits

As you already know, capybaras love water and enjoy swimming. But another reason for them to stay around water sources is their food habits. Well, they are herbivorous and they feed on vegetation. But among their diet list, they love aquatic plants. 

They try and search for their food around the water body. This lifestyle promotes health for these animals. 

Capybaras are selective when it comes to their diet but they are absolutely fond of aquatic plants. Along with this, they love grass; fruit, and tree bark which they can find near the water sources. So, they pick up an area that has a water line connected to it to solve all of their issues! 

Ultraviolet Ray 

These rodents are diurnal. And so, they require exposure to the ultraviolet ray every day. They can tolerate temperatures from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When they select a place where that is close to the river, pond, and the area has exposure to the sun too. As a result, they get the benefit of water and the sun’s ultraviolet rays too. This makes them select the place that gives them both of these so that they can live comfortably. 

Reasons Capybaras Live Near Water


We have talked a lot about what capybaras love. But apart from all of the points, water isn’t only something they love, but it’s something they need. These hulk rodents require water for their protection too. 

Water is a part of their life and they go back to water even when they are scared. Water isn’t only their home; instead, they use water for their safety when they see a predator. From large animals like jaguars, anacondas, and caimans to animals like eagles and harpy- rodents like capybaras are scared of these. 

Along with this, though they are friendly and social with humans, they too hunt them. This is why they choose a protective hiding place. When they see a predator near, they move towards the water and get into the water. 

The best part about Capybara is they can go underwater and stay there for about 5 minutes which is uncommon for the rodents. This safeguards them from the hunters. In the case of their body structures, these rodents are just like Hippopotamus. 

Just as they have their ears, nose, and eyes on top of their head, the Capybaras have the same physical structure. And for that, when they go underwater, they can stay there for a longer period. When they need to breathe, all they do is get a part of their head out where the nose is located. 

Also, to check on the hunter, they need to get their eyes out. In this way, they can keep their entire body hidden from the hunter to defend themselves. 

Hiding underwater is much safer than hiding behind the trees or grasses, don’t you agree? This is why they like to live near water- after all, nothing matters more than safety! 

How does the Capybara Adapt to its Environment? 

We can already see how they are adapted to the semi-aquatic environment. But do you know what they got adopted here? The reason behind this is their webbed feet. Their feet allow them to maneuver in the water. 

It helps them to maneuver in the muddy traverse on the soft ground too. Along with this, as we have mentioned above, their facial features are like the Hippos, directed upwards. 

Their nose, eyes, and ears are located at the top of their large heads. As a result, getting to the water and breathing fine is what they have done for ages! That’s what made them perfect swimmers!  

Wrap Up 

By now, you know the reason behind Capybara living near the water. Firstly, they need to nourish their skin and then, they need to safeguard themselves from the predators. 

Along with this, the Capybaras are getting their favorite food near the water body. And with all these, if they get to fulfill their obsession for swimming if they stay close to the water- why wouldn’t they!

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of RodentsFact.com. With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

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