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Riding on the back of their mother, three Cuban Hutia babies born November 7 are charming visitors at Munich Zoo Hellabrunn.

When they’re not hitching a ride, the mouse-sized babies snuggle up with mom and peek at the Agoutis and Parrots that share their enclosure.  The babies have been named Nikita, Nicki and Nicol.

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Photo Credit:  Munich Zoo Hellabrunn 

The triplets are the first of their species to be born at the zoo in 12 years.  Five-year-old Fidel, the father, was introduced to female Morena last year. 

Morena and Fidel will look after Nikita, Nicki and Nicol for about six months and teach them how to climb and groom each other.

As their name implies, Cuban Hutia are found on the island of Cuba.  They are small herbivorous rodents, similar to Cavies.  Hutia are active during the day and are very social animals; thanks to their strong claws they are excellent climbers and diggers. About 20 species of Hutia once lived on various Caribbean islands; seven species are extinct, with the remaining species listed as Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.