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We say HOLA to two little AMIGOS

Date: 27 Apr 2018

Capybara babies born in Belfast Zoo

We recently announced the birth of a giant anteater baby and keepers are now saying ‘hola’ to even more new arrivals as two capybara have been born.

The Capybara twins were born to mother, Lola, and father, Chester, on 2 April 2018.
Capybara are the largest rodents in the world (measuring up to 130 centimeters in length) and closely resemble giant guinea pigs.

The scientific name for this species (hydrochaeris) is Greek for ‘water hog’ and this refers to the fact that the capybara is a semi-aquatic mammal. The capybara is found on Central and South American riverbanks, beside ponds and in marshes. When the capybara swims, its eyes, ears and nostrils are positioned above the water to help with vision and breathing. In fact, this unusual animal has webbed feet and can even hold its breath for up to five minutes underwater!

The arrival of the two latest capybara babies means that we are now home to 13 capybaras in total. In the wild, these rodents live in large family groups of ten to 40 individuals. They are incredibly vocal and communicate through barks, whistles, huffs and purrs.

Zoo curator, Raymond Robinson, said "Our capybaras share their home with some other South American 'amigos', including giant anteaters and Darwin's rhea. While the capybara is not currently classified as an endangered species, it is hunted and poached for its meat and skin. It is important that zoos, such as Belfast Zoo, help to raise awareness of this species and the increasing dangers which capybara face in their natural habitat. We have no doubt that our South American babies will soon be a firm favourite with visitors!"

We are open daily from 10am, last admission is 5pm and the zoo closes at 6pm. Call by this bank holiday weekend to say ‘hola’ to the latest arrivals. Waddle over to visit the penguins and all of your favourite animals at feeding time. Find out more about the work we do at the keeper talks. Pose for a zoovenir snap at the photography base camp or explore the Adventurers’ Learning Centre!