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Animals that Can Kill a Capybara

Living Predators of a Capybara

The capybara is the largest living rodent in the world, and despite its size, it is surprisingly vulnerable to predation. Although the capybara’s sheer size and strength can usually protect it from many predators, there are a good number of animals that can and do prey on it. Recognizing the predators of the capybara can help us to better understand capybara natural history and conservation efforts.



Most adults and even some juvenile crocodilians, such as caimans, will prey on capybaras given the chance. Larger crocodilians, such as the American alligator and the large South American species, can easily overpower and consume adult capybaras, as can caimans. Juveniles of many species will take smaller individuals.


Although snakes rarely hunt on land in general, the highly aquatic Wuchereria amazonica, a species of South American boa constrictor, prefers to feed exclusively on adult capybaras. The larger size of a capybara means that it requires a lot of energy to exert a constricting force around the entire body. Thankfully for the capybara, this species of constrictor is non-venomous, and so the only way it can kill its prey is by suffocation.


Several species of cats prey on capybaras, including pumas, jaguars, and ocelots. All of these cats have powerful jaws and claws that they use to take down their prey. In addition, they have very efficient hunting techniques and are highly mobile, allowing them to stalk and ambush the unwary capybaras. These cats have been known to ambush sleeping capybaras, usually at night, and drag or carry them away for consumption.

Hawks and Eagles

In addition to the cats, several species of raptors, such as hawks and eagles, will prey on capybaras. Hawks and eagles use their powerful talons to grasp their prey and attempt to drown them in deep water or rip them apart on land. These birds of prey are able to take down capybaras that weigh up to three or four times their own bodyweight, making them formidable predators.

Other Predators of the Capybara

In addition to the predators already mentioned, there are other animals that have the potential to kill capybaras. Dogs, particularly large breeds such as the boarhound, have been known to take down capybaras if they are in large enough numbers. Some species of amphibians, such as the giant South American frog, have been known to attack capybaras that have gotten too close to their homes.

Human Predators of a Capybara

Perhaps the most dangerous predator of the capybara is humans. Humans hunt capybaras and their young for their flesh and fur. These hunts are often done in large groups and can involve nets, spears, and guns. Capybaras are also eaten by many indigenous tribes in South America. Conservation and enforcement efforts are needed in order to protect the capybara from unsustainable hunting practices.

Protection Efforts for the Capybara

Capybaras are a vital part of the ecological balance of their habitats, and as such, are key to the conservation of many ecosystems. There are numerous organizations and agencies dedicated to the preservation and protection of this species. These organizations focus on research and monitoring of the populations and their habitats, along with implementing regulations to protect the species from hunting.

In addition to this, captive breeding and re-release programs have been implemented in several areas in order to bolster the populations of capybaras. By ensuring healthy and robust populations, the species can be safeguarded from being hunted excessively.


The capybara is an incredible animal that is vulnerable to a wide variety of predators. From crocodilians and raptors to cats and humans, many different animals can prey on the capybara if given the chance. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations and initiatives that are working to protect and conserve the capybara. With their help, we can ensure that this amazing species continues to thrive for generations to come.

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