How Much Does a Capybara Cost?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Also known as chigwire, capybara, giant water guinea pig, or simple, water pig, the capybara is the largest rodent in the world, alive. It is closely related to agouti, chinchillas, and guinea pigs. What is very interesting is that this animal is strikingly similar to the character of Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

This semi-aquatic rodent lives in swamps, ponds, but also in forests, near ponds, lakes, and rivers. It can be found in Central and South America.

How Much Does a Capybara Cost?

Capybaras are not an easy find in the majority of the local pet stores, but if you live in an area that allows them to be sold and owned, Pennsylvania and Texas being the only states with regulations legalizing this exotic animal, then chances are that you can buy a pet like this.

Because these animals are pretty hard to find it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to buy a capybara for cheap, as these are considered pretty expensive pets. If you purchase it from its origin place, South America, the pet capybara costs anywhere between $520 and $1,100, or even more.

The Capybara price is greatly influenced by the age of the animal. Younger animals cost more than older specimens. For example, a male baby Capybara costs around $1,550, while for a two-year-old female, you will pay around $1,100. The most expensive would be a female breeder Capybara with a price of almost $2,600.

And considering how rare these animals are, even if you manage to find capybaras for sale on online marketplaces, make sure you do your due diligence, to ensure that you aren’t scammed, as there are a lot of fake ads out there.

And don’t even think you might be able to adopt one from a rescue center. As they are very hard to find, these creatures almost never get to rescue centers and most Capybara owners will have a really hard time giving their pets away.

Details about Capybaras

The capybara has a barrel-shaped body and a blunt snout, which makes it look somewhat like a pig. The fragile fur is reddish-brown and paler on the belly. The animal’s ears, eyes, and nose are raised so that it can stay afloat when the rodent is submerged. The capybara has a vestigial tail and partially webbed legs.

Although capybaras are excellent swimmers, they are able to run as fast as a horse on land. Throughout the day, the rodents twist in the mud to stay cool. They graze before dawn, late afternoon, and evening. They often sleep in the water, with only their noses exposed to the air.

What are the extra costs associated with keeping a capybara as a pet?

Capybara in NatureOwning a Capybara pet might be more expensive than you think. As you know, rodents stand out with their big front teeth. And the capybara is proud of such a pair of teeth. They are used to eat grass and various aquatic plants. Adult capybaras tend to eat up to 3.6 kilograms of grass in a day. During the dry season, the diet changes, the rodent moving to the reeds, grains, melons, and pumpkins. Sometimes they have been seen eating their own feces to help their stomachs digest more easily.

You can purchase hay online or from pet stores and it costs around $27. For example, a 40 oz. Hay Blends Timothy Orchard bag costs almost $22.

You can graze your own land in order to feed your capybaras, but this has to be free of any toxic weeds and plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, or Pieris.

Capybaras are not able to produce Vitamin C naturally in their bodies so you must add it to their diet. Expect to pay almost $25 for a pack of two 4-pound bags of Super Premium Guinea Pig Blend with Vitamin C.

It is imperative that a veterinarian checks the health of your capybara, just as you would for a dog or a cat. Males must be sterilized so that they do not become aggressive when they become adults. Sterilization should be performed between the ages of 6 and 9 months.

Your Capybara will also need an enclosure. Generally, a basic outdoor enclosure made of wood or metal costs between $500 and $2,000. If you want a bigger and more advanced enclosure with features like heating, air conditioning, and a pool, the price can go up to $10,000 or more.

You might also like our articles about the cost of gerbils, hedgehogs, or chinchillas.

If you want to have a Capybara as a pet in an apartment, they should be able to bathe whenever they need to, as these animals will easily suffer from skin disorders that can lead to death. It is recommended to build a swimming pool with a depth of over 3 feet so they can dive in.

Some may want to purchase an inflatable pool, but this can be destroyed very easy the capybara’s teeth.

Due to their thin fur capybaras are prone to sunburn, so if outside, the pool should be placed in a shaded area.

Important things to consider before you buy a capybara pet

The Capybara is one of the most exotic animals in existence. The only problem? There are not many reputable breeders out there and they will usually ask that you come get your future pet from them, which gives you the opportunity to also check up on their facilities.

A capybara is a social animal, so it’s best to get them in pairs or groups. They prefer an environment with other members of their kind. It doesn’t matter if you get them as an adult or baby they will thrive more when there are other capybaras around for company.

If you want to take a risk and get one of these adorable creatures, go with the males. Some are able to live alone, but if you are looking for more than that then just do what’s best and get two females or even better, a male and a female. Avoid getting 2 males because they tend to be aggressive when getting older.

Capybaras as pets have a double life expectancy compared to those in the wild. They can live 12 years in captivity.

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