Watch Two Chunky Capybaras Jump Off A Cliff To Avoid Becoming A Jaguar’s Dinner

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: October 21, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The capybara is an excellent swimmer. Their bodies are adapted to spending a lot of time in the water.
  • Pumas, jaguars, wild dogs, and humans hunt capybaras. However, by entering the water, the clever rodents in this clip gave themselves the best chance of escape.
  • Jaguars are excellent swimmers so it is likely that they would be willing to enter the water to pursue prey. However, the capybara is an accomplished diver and can stay under the water for up to five minutes.

So, did these two capybaras suddenly decide that they wanted to go for a swim? Not quite! Their decision was influenced by something scary approaching through the undergrowth. As the video shows, sometimes a fast-flowing river is a safer option than dry land!

Watch the Capybaras’ Narrow Escape!

Where Do Capybaras Live?

Capybaras are a native species of South America. These quirky mammals are members of the Caviidae family as are porcupines and guinea pigs.

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South America is actually home to two capybara species. The common capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (sometimes called the greater capybara) has the widest geographic range. They can be found in numerous locations including parts of Venezuela, North East Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia. The lesser capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius) is smaller and is found only in Eastern Panama, Northern coastal Colombia, and Venezuela.

Capybara family swimming in a lake in Brazil

Capybaras are excellent swimmers and divers

©iStock.com/Yuina Takase

In terms of habitat, they occupy lowland areas ranging from tropical rainforests to open plains. The most important feature of the habitat for the capybara is water! They like to live in marshy areas close to rivers, lakes, and streams. Nutrient-rich muddy rivers with plenty of aquatic grasses are ideal for them. They will use the water for hunting, drinking, and wallowing. As well as for escaping from predators as we see here!

How Well Can Capybaras Swim?

The capybara is an excellent swimmer. Their bodies are adapted to spending a lot of time in the water. They have small eyes and ears that are positioned high on their head so that they can be aware of what is around them when the rest of their body is under the water. Some of their toes (four on the front, three on the back) are webbed to help them move through the water with less effort.

Pumas, jaguars, wild dogs, and humans hunt capybaras. However, by entering the water, the clever rodents in this clip gave themselves the best chance of escape. Jaguars are solitary hunters and efficient predators in the water as well as on land. They are excellent swimmers so it is likely that they would be willing to enter the water to pursue prey. However, the capybara is an accomplished diver and can stay under the water for up to five minutes. Once they were submerged in this muddy water, the jaguar would have no idea where they had gone!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/tane-mahuta


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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