Why Are Capybaras So Friendly?

Capybaras cuddling together

Capybaras are known for their friendliness, and there are a number of things that contribute to this. Firstly, remember that these are giant rodents and they have quite a lot in common with small rodents, such as guinea pigs. They are also herbivores, and as prey animals, they are not inclined toward aggression.

Capybaras can be feisty at times, especially during the mating season or if they feel their young are being threatened, but on the whole, they are gentle calm creatures. They are happiest when wading around and grazing, and if you are fond of these mammals, you’ll know that they do both peacefully for hours on end. They are also rather intelligent animals.

Some of their friendliness is likely due to the fact that they live in herds. Being able to get along with other creatures is a necessity for this to work, and grouping up provides them with safety and security. Capybaras can live in herds as large as 100 individuals, but this is unusual. In general, groups range between ten and forty members.

Why Do So Many Animals Like Capybaras?

You may have noticed that capybaras are often accompanied by other animals. This might seem odd, but there are a few different reasons that other animals may like to be near capybaras.

The first one is safety. Capybaras group into herds so that they have lots of eyes, ears, and noses looking out for predators, and if they are alarmed by something, other animals know to be alarmed too. Capybaras can serve as an early warning system to run for cover.

Another reason may be that capybaras provide a source of food – but not to their predators. If you have ever seen birds riding around on the animals’ backs, this may be because the birds are combing through their coats for lice and ticks. The birds eat these, getting a meal at the same time as a free ride.

Monkeys may do the same thing if they come into contact with capybaras, grooming them for food. However, if you have noticed that other animals seem to group up with capybaras, it may just be because these mammals are large, calm, warm, and gentle creatures.

They do not pose a threat to other animals, and therefore there is no reason for other animals to avoid them. Most animals seem to enjoy the company of capybaras because they are steady and predictable creatures.

Other animals seem to enjoy being close to capybaras

Why Don’t Animals Attack Capybaras?

This is a bit of a misconception. There are pictures of crocodiles and capybaras inhabiting the same space, apparently unconcerned by each other, and this has caused some people to say that other animals do not attack capybaras.

However, this isn’t true. Capybaras have many natural predators, such as jaguars, snakes, and even birds of prey when the rodents are young and small enough to be carried off. Crocodiles, alligators, and caimans are also potential threats.

The reason that the capybara and the crocodile can coexist for photographs is the same reason that you may see lions near antelope, with neither animal appearing concerned at the time. The predator is not hungry or knows it cannot catch the potential prey, and therefore is not showing signs of attacking.

The prey animal, in this case the capybara, is very in tune with a potential predator’s body language, and will recognize when a crocodile does and does not pose a threat. Although crocodiles are capable of eating capybaras and frequently do attack them, capybaras recognize hunting behavior.

In the case of the pictures showing the two together, the simple answer is that the crocodile is not hunting, and the capybara knows it. Because of this, it is at ease around the crocodile and does not bother to avoid it.

Are Capybaras Friendly To Humans?

Capybaras can be very friendly toward humans, but you should treat them with respect. They have large, sharp, strong teeth, and they can bite very hard. People have been hospitalized as a result of being bitten by these rodents, so capybaras can definitely be dangerous to be around.

However, many people successfully keep capybaras as pets, and provided you know how to handle them and you treat them with care, they are not usually dangerous. Indeed, they can be good pets. Many seem to enjoy human contact.

It is not advisable to keep capybaras in a household with young children, as these animals do not like rough play of any sort, and may attack if there is even a hint of it. This is likely because they are prey animals, and they will feel threatened if they are handled carelessly.

Treat capybaras gently and learn to read their body language so that you know if one is feeling threatened by you. You should back away if your capybara starts to show any signs of aggression.

Do Capybaras Like To Cuddle?

Capybaras do seem to enjoy physical contact, yes. They will cuddle with each other, but also other animals, including humans at times. If you are thinking of getting a capybara as a pet, be aware that they probably are not going to be as cuddly as a cat or a dog might be. In general, rodents don’t snuggle in the same way.

However, your capybara may well enjoy physical contact and being stroked by you. You might find it even enjoys cuddling. You should make sure that you have two capybaras at least (and not two males) as these are herd animals, and they won’t be happy if they are kept alone, no matter how much cuddling you give them.

You should allow your capybara to initiate all physical contact, and not handle it if it does not seem to be enjoying the contact. Treat your animal with respect at all times.

Capybara cuddling


Capybaras are friendly because they are herd animals, and because they are calm, gentle creatures with no reason to harm anything that is not threatening them. As long as they have food, water, and companionship, they will be happy, and they will demonstrate this through affectionate behavior.

If you keep a capybara in unsuitable conditions, it is likely that it will stop being friendly, and it may even show signs of aggression.

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