How Much Does a Capybara Cost?

Written by: Staff

A capybara is native to the Venezuela and Columbia areas and is currently one of the largest rodents in the world.  Capybaras have larger shaped bodies with short heads and reddish type fur.  They have no tail and can weigh up to 250 pounds.  Capybaras tend to hang out in groups of 10 to 20 and can be found in tropical forest type atmospheres.

Capybara by lorentey, on Flickr
Capybara” (CC BY 2.0) by  lorentey

How much does a capybara cost?

The cost of a Capybara can range from $400 to $1,100 per animal.  The cost will depend on the breeder, the quality, age and geographical location.  Since the capybara is considered to be an exotic animal, make sure that you check with your local city and state laws to ensure that something such as this would be legal.  Even it’s legal, there may be certain laws set in place.  For example, in Oregon, all exotic animals must receive an import permit from the Department of Agriculture.  Most states will require you to hold a permit to own one as well.

Purchasing one from a foreign country, such as South America, could increase the price tag to as high as $3,000 to more than $8,000.

Because this animal can be hard to find, be prepared to be on a waiting list if you’re interested in one., an online classified website that specializes in exotic animals, have listings that range anywhere from as little as $1,000 to close to $1,500 per pair.

Melly over at said she was able to get hers for $300, plus flight and travel crate fees.

What is going to be included in the adoption fee?

Reputable breeders should include a vet checkup/medical certification, health guarantee, up to date vaccinations and a travel crate if it’s going to be shipped via an airline.  Some breeders may also include starter supplies such as food or toys.

Depending on the age, some breeders may have bottle trained the baby, allowing an easy transition for the new owner.

What are the extra costs?

Recuring costs, like any other animal, need to be factored in.  This will include food, supplies, shelter and the necessary vet visits.  These animals tend to want to be outdoors, so you may want to plan on building a fenced in part with a heated shelter, dirt area, hay rack and a lot of toys.

Fresh fruits, grass and vegetables are all part of a Capybara’s diet and will be recommended on a daily basis.  They also eat other foods such as hay.  You will want to supplement their diet with goat’s milk while they are younger and a low-protein pelleted food as they grow old.  Capybara owners often feed them corn on the cob husks, lettuce, apples, potatoes, carrots and oats.  The average capybara will eat up to 10 pounds of food per day, so plan on budgeting at least $50 to $100 per month at a minimum.

Not all breeders ship, so if you have to travel to the seller’s location, then you will want to factor in the lodging and gas expenses.

A four-foot tall fence, at a minimum, is highly recommended to make sure your capybara doesn’t escape.  This has to be sturdy since they can weigh more than 100 pounds and can easily knock it over.  Repairing, replacing or building a new fence, depending on the lot size, can be well into the thousands.

Since the animal loves water, some sort of wading pool is necessary to offer it the opportunity to cool off during the warmer months and keep clean.   Some owners have been known to dig a new pond, while others allow their pet to use the swimming pool.

Many owners often buy in pairs since this animal tends to hang around herds in the wild and each one relies on each other as an alarm for one another.

Tips to know:

These animals can grow up to 1.5 feet tall and can weigh as much as 100 pounds.  They are currently the largest rodents in the world and are closely related to guinea pigs.

The capybara is known to eat only grass and aquatic plants, making their diets rather easy when compared to other exotic animals.  Most like to graze in the grass, so it’s essential you have an are where it can graze.

A capybara loves to hang around the water.  In fact, these animals can go underwater for as long as five minutes.

The animals are also highly sociable.

Finding a capybara is extremely rare; in fact, says there are only a few breeders in the United States that have breeding pairs.

Be sure to rodent proof your home in advanced, because like rabbits. they love to chew on cords.

Since they are such large animals, they will need a lot of room to roam.  If you don’t have more than a half acre of grass, then it’s highly advised you don’t adopt one.

They are well known to mark their territory by leaving their urine as a “social courtesy,” similar to leaving a business card behind.

Because aggression can often be seen with a capybara, understand that they don’t interact well with humans and can often stress out quite a bit.

They have large front teeth and will never stop growing.  To keep them worn down, they will chew on bark or food.

Some videos show that a capybara can get along with other domesticated animals like a cat.  Known as a gentle giant, they can get along as long as the other animal isn’t aggressive.

Do they make good pets?

Since they are semi-aquatic, they will need water and mud to survive.  They will use the water to use the bathroom and the mud to cool down and protect themselves from sunburn.  As mentioned above, owners should have an adequate amount of water available. If house trained, remember that these animals can grow up to 100 pounds or more and will require some sort of water to use the bathroom.  This means instead of a litter pan, you may need to dedicate a bathtub, which can mean a lot of messes and unnecessary cleanups every day.

Capybaras are extremely sociable and will require some sort of companionship.  If left alone at any time of the day, they will have separation anxiety.  It’s either best to stay nearby all day or have a small group.

While they are considered intelligent, they still chew on wires, carpet, blankets curtains and many other household items.  They can develop good manners over time if disciplined properly, but when compared to other animals, communicating can be hard.

They can bit, especially if they are on the defensive side.  They do worry about strangers but will warm up to you as they see you more and more.  They won’t be fans of enthusiastic children.

While they don’t dig, they can squeeze through the smallest cracks possible.  They can also push their weight against uneven or poorly built fences.

How can I save money?

Try to find an owner who is looking to sell an older pet.  This may allow you to get your pet for less money and may include supplies and accessories.

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