Are Capybara Giant Hamsters?

When most people think of rodents, they picture gerbils, mice, and hamsters. However, in reality there are far more members of the rodent family. If you asked someone what the largest rodent is they would likely say rats. After all, they are the largest member of the rodent family that the average person has some sort of tie or relationship too. However, there’s one member of the rodent family that is far bigger than its rat cousin. Have you ever heard of a Capybara?


Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. They are native to South America. They even sort of look like giant hamsters. In fact, if you look up giant hamster the first picture that shows up is a Capybara. Though they may share similarities, these animals have plenty that make them unique in their own right.


Let’s start off with some similarities. First and foremost, both hamsters and capybaras are rodents. This means they have large incisor teeth that never stop growing. To keep their teeth at a manageable length, hamsters and capybara alike will find themselves constantly gnawing on things. These two animals also share similar palettes. They are primarily herbivorous and have diets that consist of vegetation. However, hamsters will eat animal protein if given the opportunity while capybaras are strictly vegetarian.


Physically, both hamsters and Capybara have similar body structures. They both have round bodies and short stocky legs along with small eyes and stubby ears. However, Hamsters have cheek pouches while Capybara do not. You will often see Hamsters stuffing their cheeks to carry food back to their burrow. Don’t let this get you down though, Capybara have special characteristics that make them unique too. Capybara have webbed feet and are notoriously good swimmers. They even sleep in the water sometimes. Hamsters do not have the same relationship with water, as their natural habitat is an arid desert environment.


Both Capybara and Hamsters can be kept as pets. However, the two have very different care requirements. A Capybara needs a large expansive living space to live in while a hamster just needs a quality cage. This is because of the drastic difference in their size. A pet hamster will grow to be up to 10 ounces at max, but a Capybara can grow to be over 100 pounds!


While both animals can enjoy socializing with humans they differ when it comes to their own species. Hamsters are solitary creatures and enjoy living by themselves in the wild. Capybara on the other hand, live in groups of 10 to 20 individuals.


Though these animals may look similar they are quite different. Capybaras are far larger than their hamster cousins. Capybara also enjoy socializing with their own species while hamsters do not. Additionally, Capybara are semi-aquatic and while hamsters can technically swim, they would never do it in their natural habitat. Hamsters will be a more suitable pet for the average person, but if you love Capybara don’t let that stop you. Regardless of which animal you decide to bring into your home, make sure you give your small pet the life they deserve.


If you like this article, check out our blog post on the Cambell's Dwarf vs the Winter White Russian hamster. 

Or, you can pick from one of are many other articles here.

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