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World’s largest rodent gives birth

Date: 01 Aug 2018

Capybara babies born at Belfast Zoo

We are celebrating the arrival of two more capybara babies.

You may remember that mother, Lola and father, Chester, welcomed two babies back in April 2018, which you helped to name. Lola and Chester soon heard the pitter patter of even more little webbed feet when they welcomed their latest arrivals on 19 July 2018.

Keepers are giving Lola and her babies times to bond and, for this reason, we do not yet know the sex of the infants and they have not received names.

The arrival of the two latest capybara babies means that Belfast Zoo is now home to 15 capybaras in total.

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!

Zoo curator, Raymond Robinson, said "Lola is a fantastic mother. She welcomed Tula and Cuzco earlier this year and you can imagine our delight when Lola’s latest arrivals made an appearance. Our capybaras live in our lake walk and share their home with other South American species including giant anteater and Darwin’s rhea.”