Three baby capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, have had their first ever health check-ups at Chester Zoo. The trio – named Sakai, Byron and Kosh - were born on Oct 5 to mum Lily and dad Mordon. Keepers and vets gave them a physical examination, inserted microchips, took their weights and determined their sexes during the routine checks.
Keeper Helen Massey said, “All three of our new arrivals, two boys and one girl, are in great shape. It has been a number of years since we last had capybara babies and so we’re really, really pleased with them. They’re only weighing in at around 5.7lbs (2.6kgs) now but they’ll soon grow into chunky rodents like their mum and dad.”
Capybaras can grow up to almost 5ft (1.5m) in length and weigh up to 130lbs (60 kilograms). They are native to South America and can be found living in small herds in wetlands across most of the continent.
Their scientific name means ‘water pig’, and their bodies have been specially adapted for swimming - with webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils located on top of their heads. They are able to stay submerged in water for around five minutes.
In the wild they are preyed upon by jaguars, anacondas and caiman and humans also hunt them for their meat and skin, which can be turned into leather.
The Capybaras are three of a number of new arrivals at the zoo, which has had something of a baby boom in October. A black rhino, a Rothschild giraffe, a Sumatran orangutan, an okapi and two Giant Otter pups have all been born in the month.