capybara vs quokka

Capybara Vs Quokka Size, Weight, Overall Comparison

Capybaras and quokkas, distinct members of the animal kingdom, exhibit unique characteristics, behaviors, and habitats. Exploring their differences sheds light on the fascinating diversity within the world of rodents.

I. Size and Physical Distinctions:

Capybaras, the largest rodents globally, can grow up to 1.3 meters in length and weigh up to 66 kg, showcasing their substantial size and weight advantage. Quokkas, on the other hand, are significantly smaller marsupials native to Western Australia.

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara (Credit: Karoly Lorentey 2011 (CC BY 2.0)




II. Geographic Distribution:

– Capybaras are primarily found in South America, displaying a preference for aquatic habitats. Quokkas, conversely, inhabit Western Australia, showcasing their adaptation to island ecosystems.

III. Habitat Preferences:

– Capybaras thrive in semi-aquatic environments, often found near lakes, rivers, and swamps. Quokkas, being marsupials, prefer terrestrial habitats and are commonly found in forested areas.


IV. Social Behavior:

– Capybaras are highly social animals, living in groups and forming close bonds within their communities. Quokkas are known for their friendly and chill demeanor, often displaying a gentle and approachable nature.

capybara vs quokka
Quokka (Credit: RaffiKojian 2006 (CC BY-SA 3.0)




V. Hypothetical Scenario:

In a fight between a capybara and a quokka, the capybara’s larger size and weight would likely give it the advantage.

*Details of Comparison


Criteria Capybara Quokka
Taxonomy Order: Rodentia Family: Caviidae
Order: Diprotodontia Family: Macropodidae
Appearance Larger, barrel-shaped, short fur
Smaller, round face, sandy-brown fur
Size 3.3 to 4.4 feet 16 to 21 inches
Weight 77 to 146 pounds 5.5 to 11 pounds
Dentition and Bite Force Chisel-like incisors, limited bite force
Adapted incisors, moderate bite force
Offensive Advantages Strong hind limbs, sharp incisors
Limited physical offensive features
Defensive Advantages Social structures, aquatic evasion
Hiding, agility for defense
Speed Up to 22 mph Up to 12 mph
Agility Agile in water, moderate on land
Highly agile on land
Senses Hearing, smell; emphasis on movement vision
Hearing, smell; emphasis on acute vision
Physical Capacity Versatile in land and water
Adapted for terrestrial life
Habitat and Region South American grassy plains
Australian forests
Tracks Webbed footprints
Hopping motion tracks
Lifespan 8-10 years 8-10 years
Feeding Herbivorous, specific diets may differ
Herbivorous, varied vegetation
Intelligence Social intelligence
Exhibits a degree of intelligence
Social Behavior Highly social in groups
Social, often seen solitary or in small groups
Reproduction Polygamous mating, precocial offspring
Year-round mating, pouch-rearing, single offspring
Parental Behavior Extended care within social groups
Focus on pouch-rearing
Proximity to Humans Near human settlements
Presence on some tourist-populated islands
Behavior Toward Humans Cautious, may retreat
Approachable, displays curiosity
Danger Posed to Humans Generally not dangerous
Generally not dangerous
Associated Precautions Caution advised, respect space
Avoid feeding, maintain respectful distance
Conservation Status Least concern Vulnerable
Key Points
  • Capybaras are larger, socially complex, and have a more favorable conservation status.
  • Quokkas are smaller, pouch-rearing, and vulnerable in terms of conservation status.
  • Both are herbivores with distinct ecological adaptations.
  • Capybaras exhibit more diverse physical capabilities, while quokkas rely on agility.
  • Social behaviors and reproductive strategies vary between the two species.
  • Both may inhabit areas close to human populations with associated precautions.

1. Taxonomy

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris):

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Family: Caviidae

Genus: Hydrochoerus

Species: Hydrochaeris

Quokka (Setonix brachyurus):

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Diprotodontia

Family: Macropodidae

Genus: Setonix

Species: Brachyurus


2. Appearance

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara (Credit: Eric Kilby 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)


capybara vs quokka
Quokka (Credit: Barney Moss 2015, Uploaded Online 2016 (CC BY 2.0)




Large, barrel-shaped body with a head resembling that of a guinea pig.

Short, dense fur that varies in color, often brown or gray.

Webbed feet suited for aquatic environments.


Smaller in size with a compact body and round face.

Soft, sandy-brown fur with a cute, smiling facial expression.

Hind legs designed for hopping, reflecting its macropod classification.


Capybaras are notably larger and more robust, while quokkas exhibit a smaller and cuter appearance.

Ecological Implications:

Capybaras’ larger size aids in thermal regulation and adaptation to aquatic habitats, while the quokka’s smaller size is advantageous for navigating diverse terrains.


3. Size


Adults can reach lengths of 3.3 to 4.4 feet (1 to 1.35 meters).

Shoulder height around 20 inches (50 cm).


Smaller in size, with adults typically ranging from 16 to 21 inches (40 to 54 cm).


Capybaras are significantly larger than quokkas.

Ecological Implications:

Size differences impact resource utilization, with capybaras requiring more substantial food and habitats compared to the smaller quokkas.


4. Weight


Adult weight ranges from 77 to 146 pounds (35 to 66 kg).


Weighs between 5.5 to 11 pounds (2.5 to 5 kg).


Capybaras are substantially heavier than quokkas.

Ecological Implications:

Weight influences feeding habits, mobility, and predation risk, with capybaras having different ecological roles due to their larger size.


5. Dentition and Bite Force (PSI)


Herbivorous with large, chisel-like incisors for grazing.

Limited bite force, adapted for plant consumption.


Herbivorous with adapted incisors for consuming vegetation.

Moderate bite force suitable for their diet.


Both are herbivores, but capybaras may have a more specialized dentition for grazing.

Ecological Implications:

Differences in bite force and dentition reflect their respective roles in ecosystem dynamics, influencing plant consumption and ecological interactions.


6. Physical Offensive Advantages


Strong hind limbs and sharp incisors for defense.

Agile swimmers, utilizing aquatic environments as a defensive strategy.


Agile and swift, relying on hopping as a primary defensive maneuver.

Limited physical offensive advantages due to its small size.


Capybaras possess stronger physical offensive features, including sharp incisors and a more robust physique.

Ecological Implications:

Capybaras’ physical advantages contribute to their survival in varied environments, while quokkas rely on agility and evasion for defense.


7. Physical Defensive Advantages


Social structure and group living provide a collective defense against predators.

Excellent swimmers, capable of evading threats in water.


Evolves to hide in dense vegetation and use its small size to avoid predators.

Limited physical defenses, relying on agility and concealment.


Capybaras exhibit a more developed social defense strategy, while quokkas rely on individual evasion.

Ecological Implications:

Social defense mechanisms in capybaras contribute to group survival, while quokkas’ strategies revolve around individual adaptations.


8. Speed (Km/hour or Mile/hour)

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara Running In Shallow Water (Credit: Bernard DUPONT 2018 (CC BY-SA 2.0)




Can reach speeds of around 22 miles per hour (35 km/h) on land.


Hops at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour (20 km/h).


Capybaras are faster than quokkas, likely due to their larger size and longer limbs.

Ecological Implications:

Speed affects predator evasion and foraging efficiency, influencing the overall ecological roles of each species in their respective habitats.


9. Agility


Agile in water, utilizing webbed feet for efficient swimming.

Moderate agility on land, with a robust build.


Highly agile on land, using hopping as a rapid and evasive movement.


Quokkas exhibit higher agility on land, while capybaras demonstrate agility in aquatic environments.

Ecological Implications:

Agility adaptations reflect habitat preferences and predator avoidance strategies, influencing the ecological niches occupied by capybaras and quokkas.


10. Senses


Well-developed senses of hearing and smell.

Limited vision, adapted for detecting movement rather than detail.


Good sense of smell and hearing.

Relies on acute vision for navigation and detecting threats.


Both species rely on heightened hearing and smell, but quokkas prioritize vision for their small, terrestrial habitats.

Ecological Implications:

Differences in sensory adaptations contribute to their survival strategies in distinct environments.


11. Overall Physical Capacity


Robust physique and strong limbs for swimming and navigating varied terrains.

Well-adapted for both terrestrial and aquatic environments.


Compact body and strong hind legs for efficient hopping.

Adapted for terrestrial life, with limited aquatic capabilities.


Capybaras possess a more versatile physical capacity, excelling in both land and water.

Ecological Implications:

The overall physical capacity of each species influences their habitat preferences and roles within ecosystems.


12. Habitat Preference(s) and Geographic Region

capybara vs quokka
Quokka (Credit: Hesperian 2009 (CC BY 3.0)




Found in South America, particularly in grassy plains, marshes, and along riverbanks.


Native to Australia, inhabiting forests and scrublands, often found on small islands.


Capybaras prefer South American habitats, while quokkas are endemic to Australian environments.

Ecological Implications:

Habitat preferences shape their interactions with other species and impact ecosystem dynamics in distinct geographic regions.


13. Tracks


Distinctive tracks with webbed footprints near water bodies.


Characteristic tracks showcasing the hopping motion with elongated hind limb imprints.


Capybara tracks reflect their semi-aquatic lifestyle, while quokka tracks highlight their hopping movement on land.

Ecological Implications:

Tracking differences contribute to understanding the distribution and behavior of each species within their respective habitats.


14. Lifespan


Typically live around 8 to 10 years in the wild.


Average lifespan is approximately 10 years in the wild.


Both capybaras and quokkas have relatively similar lifespans in their natural environments.

Ecological Implications:

Lifespan influences population dynamics, reproductive strategies, and overall ecological contributions of each species.


15. Mode of Feeding

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara Feeding (Credit: Tambako The Jaguar 2012 (CC BY-ND 2.0)




Herbivorous, primarily grazing on grasses and aquatic vegetation.


Herbivorous, feeding on a variety of vegetation, including leaves, stems, and fruits.


Both species share a herbivorous diet, but the specific plant types may differ.

Ecological Implications:

Differences in dietary preferences contribute to their ecological roles within their respective ecosystems.


16. Intelligence


Considered social and intelligent, displaying complex behaviors within groups.


Exhibits a degree of intelligence but is not as extensively studied as capybaras.


Capybaras are known for their higher level of social intelligence.

Ecological Implications:

Intelligence impacts social dynamics and cooperation within groups, influencing ecological interactions.


17. Social Behavior

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybaras are Known to be Highly Social (Credit: Bernard DUPONT 2016 (CC BY-SA 2.0)




Highly social, forming groups known as “capybara communities.”

Cooperative behavior for protection against predators.


Social, but often seen as solitary or in small family groups.


Capybaras are more communal, while quokkas may exhibit more varied social structures.

Ecological Implications:

Social behaviors influence population dynamics, predator avoidance, and resource utilization within their respective ecosystems.


18. Mode of Reproduction


Polygamous mating system with dominant males mating with multiple females.

Females give birth to litters of precocial young (capable of independent activity shortly after birth).


Mating occurs throughout the year, with females giving birth to a single joey after a short gestation period.

Females have a pouch where the joey completes development.


Capybaras exhibit a polygamous mating system with precocial offspring, while quokkas have pouch-rearing and give birth to single offspring.

Ecological Implications:

Reproductive strategies impact population dynamics, resource availability, and competition within their respective ecosystems.


19. Parental Behavior

Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara With Its Young (Credit: Marie Hale 2009 (CC BY 2.0)


capybara vs quokka
Quokka (Credit: Wallpaper Flare 2024)




Females provide care and protection to their precocial offspring.

Group members may collectively protect and care for the young.


Females carry and nurse their young in a pouch.

Limited parental care beyond pouch-rearing.


Capybaras show extended parental care within the social group, while quokkas focus on pouch-rearing.

Ecological Implications:

Parental behaviors contribute to the survival and development of offspring, influencing population dynamics and social structures.


20. Proximity to Human-Inhabited Areas


Capybaras can be found near water bodies in proximity to human settlements, often causing conflicts due to habitat overlap.


Quokkas are known for their presence on some tourist-populated islands, displaying a degree of comfort in human-inhabited areas.


Both capybaras and quokkas may inhabit areas close to human populations.

Ecological Implications:

Proximity to humans can lead to various ecological challenges, including habitat alteration, resource competition, and potential conflicts.


21. Behavior Toward Humans

capybara vs quokka
Quokka (Credit: Simon_sees 2019 (CC BY 2.0)


Capybara Vs Quokka
Capybara (Credit: Douglas Castillo 2013 (CC BY-SA 3.0)




Capybaras may exhibit tolerance toward humans but can be wary and may retreat to water for safety.


Quokkas are known for their seemingly friendly and approachable behavior, often displaying curiosity towards humans.


Quokkas generally exhibit a more approachable demeanor compared to capybaras.

Ecological Implications:

Behavioral responses to humans can impact conservation efforts, tourism interactions, and overall human-wildlife coexistence.


22. Danger Posed to Humans


Generally not considered dangerous to humans.

May become defensive if cornered or feel threatened.


Generally perceived as harmless and not dangerous to humans.

Known for their approachable behavior.


Neither capybaras nor quokkas are typically considered dangerous to humans.

Ecological Implications:

Low danger posed to humans contributes to positive human-wildlife interactions and coexistence in their respective habitats.


23. Associated Precautions


Caution is advised when approaching capybaras, as they may react defensively.

Respect their space and avoid actions that may stress or provoke them.


Tourists and visitors are encouraged not to feed quokkas or disturb their natural behavior.

Gentle behavior does not negate the importance of maintaining a respectful distance.


Both species require precautions to ensure mutual safety and respect in human interactions.

Ecological Implications:

Human interactions must be managed to minimize stress and disturbance, supporting the well-being of capybaras and quokkas.


24. Conservation Status


Generally listed as a species of least concern (LC) due to their widespread distribution and stable populations.


Classified as vulnerable (VU) due to habitat loss, predation by introduced species, and potential impacts of climate change.


Capybaras have a more favorable conservation status compared to quokkas.

Ecological Implications:

Conservation status reflects the impact of human activities on each species and their habitats, influencing conservation efforts and priorities.


*Summary of Comparison


Capybara belongs to the order Rodentia, family Caviidae.

Quokka belongs to the order Diprotodontia, family Macropodidae.


Capybara is larger with a barrel-shaped body and short fur.

Quokka is smaller with a round face, sandy-brown fur, and a cute expression.


Capybara is significantly larger, reaching 3.3 to 4.4 feet.

Quokka is smaller, ranging from 16 to 21 inches.


Capybara is much heavier, weighing 77 to 146 pounds.

Quokka is lighter, weighing 5.5 to 11 pounds.

Dentition and Bite Force (PSI):

Capybara has chisel-like incisors and limited bite force.

Quokka has adapted incisors with moderate bite force.

Physical Offensive Advantages:

Capybara has strong hind limbs and sharp incisors.

Quokka relies on agility with limited physical offensive features.

Physical Defensive Advantages:

Capybara has social structures and aquatic evasion.

Quokka hides and uses agility for defense.


Capybara can reach 22 mph.

Quokka hops at up to 12 mph.


Capybara is agile in water and moderately on land.

Quokka is highly agile on land.


Both rely on hearing and smell, but quokka emphasizes vision.

Overall Physical Capacity:

Capybara excels in both land and water.

Quokka is adapted for terrestrial life.

Habitat Preference(s) and Geographic Region:

Capybara prefers South American grassy plains.

Quokka is endemic to Australian forests.


Capybara leaves webbed footprints.

Quokka leaves tracks reflecting its hopping motion.


Both have relatively similar lifespans, around 8-10 years.

Mode of Feeding:

Both are herbivores, but specific diets may differ.


Capybara is known for social intelligence.

Quokka exhibits a degree of intelligence.

Social Behavior:

Capybara is highly social in groups.

Quokka is social but often seen solitary.

Mode of Reproduction:

Capybara has polygamous mating and precocial offspring.

Quokka mates year-round with pouch-rearing and single offspring.

Parental Behavior:

Capybara shows extended parental care.

Quokka focuses on pouch-rearing.

Proximity to Human-Inhabited Areas:

Both may inhabit areas near human populations.

Behavior Toward Humans:

Capybara may be cautious and retreat.

Quokka is known for its approachable behavior.

Danger Posed to Humans:

Neither is typically considered dangerous.

Associated Precautions:

Both require precautions for respectful interactions.

Conservation Status:

Capybara is of least concern.

Quokka is vulnerable.


I. Similarities

Both capybaras and quokkas are herbivores with generally non-threatening behaviors towards humans.


II. Differences

Capybaras are larger, exhibit more complex social structures, and have a more favorable conservation status compared to the smaller, pouch-rearing quokkas.

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