largest rodent

The largest rodent on earth is the Capybara, an animal so large it’s quite shocking it even counts as a rodent!

Capybaras are very loveable, albeit peculiar, animals with a lot of interesting qualities. One of which is that they are, as i have said already, the largest rodent on earth.

They can weigh anywhere between 60 and 174 pounds, making them quite hefty creatures. Females are typically a bit heavier than males. In terms of size, they usually grow to be about 120 centimeters long and around 60 centimeters tall. Once again, quite gigantic when you compare it to other rodents like mice or rats.

Capybaras are highly social animals, living in packs that can consist of a few members or even upwards of 100 individuals! That’s more than most people’s social circles.

largest rodent

An interesting aspect of a capybara’s social life is that they are remarkably good at bonding with other species. You’d be hard pressed to think of an animal that wouldn’t get on with a capybara. I’m not joking, they have been reported calmly sitting nearby to alligators and other ferocious animals. More often than not though, these interspecies bonds are with things like birds and other docile mammals.

Capybaras are actually semi aquatic and spend a lot of time in bodies of water like lakes, ponds and rivers. This helps them to avoid predators as well as regulate their body temperatures.

Other large rodents

Capybaras may be the largest rodent, but they’ve got some close competition. In this section i’ll run through just a few examples of other large rodents for your reading pleasure!

One example of a large rodent that came as quite a massive surprise to me is the beaver. To be completely honest, i didn’t realize these semi aquatic architects were rodents at all! Beavers usually weigh around 40 to 70 pounds. They are typically about 3 to 4 feet long and around 1 foot tall. They’re definitely large, but not as large as capybaras by any means.

largest rodent

Another animal that may surprise you in terms of its status as a rodent is the porcupine. Despite being closely associated with hedgehogs, they actually aren’t very related to one another as hedgehogs aren’t even rodents. Most species of porcupine weigh between 12 and 35 pounds. They are typically about 60 to 90 centimeters long and they top it off with a 20 centimeter long tail for a total length of around a meter. Once again, by no means small but not even a comparison to the absolute heft of a capybara.

The pacarana is a much lesser known rodent, but a large one none the less. It is indigenous to South America, much like the capybara, and can reach weights of around thirty three pounds. In terms of length, pacaranas are typically about 79 centimeters if you don’t count their thick, bushy tails.

largest rodent

Rodents get a lot of hate and have a lot of stigma about being dirty and horrible animals. But really, they’re all quite cute and have a lot of interesting qualities. There’s a lot of diversity in rodents, with some much beloved animals representing the group. Capybaras deserve the love they get, but so does every other rodent!

Extra information

Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshops. You will be able to see, learn and interact with many wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more, perfect for an animal party. We can also , come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about looking after animals and animal behaviour, and have fun too.