The Lesser capybara is a large semiaquatic rodent found in Central and South America. It closely resembles the capybara, but is smaller in size and has a darker brown coat.
Lesser capybaras are found in eastern Panama, northwestern Colombia, and western Venezuela. They live in areas close to water near marshes, and along streams, ponds, and rivers.
Lesser capybaras may be diurnal or nocturnal and solitary or social depending on season, habitat, and hunting pressure. These animals spend their time feeding or resting. When disturbed, capybaras will flee, or produce an alarm call and dive into the water. They are excellent swimmers and may even submerge if pursued.
Lesser capybaras breed year-round and females give birth to a litter of 3-4 pups. The gestation period usually lasts around 108 days. The young are born well developed and are able to travel with their mother.
The main threats to these animals include hunting for their meat, the destruction of gallery forests, swamp drainage, and extensive agriculture.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Lesser capybara total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List.