Belfast Zoo keepers are hearing the ‘pitter patter’ of tiny webbed feet as parents, Charlie and Lola, have welcomed baby Sheila, the Capybara! Capybaras are found in South America and are, in fact, semi-aquatic, with webbed feet (hence their scientific name is ‘hydrochoerus’ which means ‘water hog’). Capybaras can actually stay underwater for up to five minutes which allows them to hide from predators!
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.
Just ten days ago, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed the birth of three baby Capybaras. The new babies bring the Zoo’s group of Capybaras up to six including mom Shoya, dad Budha, and another adult female, Bonita. They can all be seen on exhibit together on the second floor of The RainForest.
Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. They can grow up to 4.5 feet long and weigh up to 150 pounds. They are native to South America and can be found throughout most of the continent east of the Andes Mountains.
On August 2, Brevard Zoo’s Capybara, Bailey, gave birth to a litter of four pups. This is the first Capybara litter born at the Zoo in more than 10 years. Their genders have not yet been confirmed. The entire Capybara family, including first-time parents Bailey and Clancy, can be seen on exhibit in the La Selva loop daily.
Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world, related to chinchillas and guinea pigs. Its common name means "Master of the Grasses”. They are social, semi-aquatic mammals that live in groups found throughout South America, including Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, French Guyana, Uruguay, Peru, and Paraguay. Capybaras live in densely forested areas near bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and marshes, flooded savanna, and along rivers in tropical forest. They are very vocal animals and communicate through a combination of scent and sound, including purrs, barks, whistles, squeals and grunts. Baby Capybara are typically weaned at about 16 weeks, but can be found nibbling grasses as early as one week after birth.
Belfast Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two of the world’s largest rodents, in the form of twin capybara babies. They've been named Gus and Jacques. Parents Charlie (with the twins in the bottom picture), and Lola, posing just below with Gus, welcomed their offspring who came into the world on April 3.
Capybaras originate from South America. The scientific name for capybara (Hydrochoerus) means ‘water hog’ and although they are technically from the rodent family, this name relates to the fact that capybaras are semi-aquatic animals and love the water. In fact, capybaras have webbed feet and can stay underwater for up to five minutes at a time, to hide from predators.
Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, said, “Our capybaras live in a mixed South American exhibit in the zoo. Already in 2012, we have welcomed Kara and Pancho, the giant anteaters, to this enclosure and now we are celebrating the arrival of our capybara twins! It’s definitely an exciting time and I am sure that zoo visitors will enjoy visiting Gus and Jacques.”
Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo
A trio of Capybara babies were born at Twycross Zoo this month and they are out in the sunshine, exploring their habitat. Capybara usually only breed once a year, and have a gestation period of 5 months, giving birth to up to 8 young. The babies are born weighing just about 2 pounds (.91 kgs).
The Capybara can be found in several types of social groupings, ranging from simple male-female pairings, to parents and young to larger mixed groups, with one male that is dominant over all the females in that group. Here the little ones mix easily with the adults, but look pretty small in comparison!
The babies nostrils, eyes and ears are all positioned on top of its head because they will spend a lot of time in the water -- and in the wild, they'd need to look out for predators while swimming. Their webbed toes will help them become both excellent swimmers and divers. Their diet is based on water based vegetation and grasses. Water plants, young buds and soft tree bark are eaten in the day and fresh grass in the evening.
The range of the Capybara covers much of South America east of the Andes down to south Uruguay where they inhabit densely vegetated areas around ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes and swamps.
Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo
This single capybara baby made its public debut yesterday at the San Diego Zoo in California. At only one day old, this little baby weighs 3 - 5 pounds (1.36-2.27 kgs) and has teeth that let it nibble on grasses!
In fact, the word capybara means "master of the grass" and its scientific name, Hydrochoerus, means "water hog" because of its love for water. The capybara, however, is not a pig as that implies, but the world's largest rodent species. An adult male can weigh up to 141 pounds and a female up to 146 pounds! and end up to be about two feet tall.
Capybara are highly social and live in groups controlled by a dominant male. Capybara females in a group are known to help care for and even nurse each other's young. This is the second capybara born in the past week and at this time, its gender is unknown.
Capybara are found in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas and Peru, south through Brazil, Paraguay, northeast Argentina, and Uruguay. Semi-aquatic, they frequent dense vegetation surrounding lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes, and ponds.
Keepers at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury, England were pleased to introduce a new litter of Capybara pups to the park recently. “Capybaras are the largest of the rodent species and have big bodies with short heads and shorter front legs than back legs. Their feet are slightly webbed with 4 toes on the front and 3 toes on the back feet. When they dive they can remain under water for up to 5 minutes!” Said Keeper Joel Bunce.
Howletts Wild Animal Park has a group of six Capybara; five female and one male. The group has three breeding females and litters are normally weaned around 16 weeks. Joel said: “These lovely animals are great to look after, the pups are so curious at the moment and at feeding time make the funniest noises as they jumble over each other for the food.” Capybaras are not endangered in the wild although their numbers are declining in some areas due to hunting. Their natural predators are large constrictors.
The San Diego Zoo welcomed a new Capybara on March 7. The baby was born to a first-time mother, Rose, and could be seen running around the exhibit just hours after it was born. Rose is taking great care of her offspring, which nurses several times a day. Animal care staff expects nursing to continue for another 15 weeks. In addition to nursing, the baby has already started eating solid foods, including broccoli and apple. Capybaras are born with incisor teeth and keepers have seen the baby chewing on branches and trees around the exhibit.
On August 18th, the UK's Paignton Zoo welcomed a baby Capybara to parents David and Davina. Sometimes called a the Giant Guinea Pig, these massive rodents can grow four feet long (a rodent of unusual size perhaps?). Capybaras love to lounge, and even sleep, in swamps and rivers with only their eyes and nostrils poking out.