We currently care for two capybaras, they live in Zona Brazil with our family of Tapirs.
Capybaras are mammals from South America. They are classed as the world's largest rodent (related to rats and mice). The name capybara means 'master of the grasses' in the language of the Guarani Indians. Grasses are the favourite food of this giant rodent. Capybaras communicate using barks, whistles, clicks, squeals and grunts.
Capybaras are herbivores, meaning they graze mostly on grass and aquatic plants. Here at the Zoo, our capybaras eat hay,vegetables and pellets.
The capybara's jaw hinge is not perpendicular and they thus chew food by grinding back-and-forth rather than side-to-side. Like other rodents, capybaras front teeth grow continuously to make up for the wear and tear of eating grasses.
Capybaras typically live in tropical grassland and freshwater in southern Central America and northern South America.
The capybara is semi-aquatic, living in grassy wetland areas or close to rivers. It carries out most of its activities on land, using water as a refuge where it can swim and dives with ease. There are simple webs between the toes that help when swimming. They can hold their breath under water for only a few minutes, but can hide in water when necessary for much longer, with only their noses sticking out of the water.
The capybara is not threatened in the wild. In some areas they are farmed, which ensures the protection of the wetlands that they like to live in and all of the other creatures that live there too. Overall, their population seems to be stable. Their survival in the wild is assisted by the ability to breed rapidly.
Our capybara live in a South American mixed species exhibit, and on cold days they love cuddling up with the tapirs. They do like eating, especially our male, who is quite greedy! On warm days you'll find our capybara sunbathing.
You can find our capybara inside the Zona Brazil exhibit
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