Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Belfast Zoo says ‘hola’ to two little capybara amigos

Belfast Zoo has said ‘hola’ to two new arrivals this month - two little capybara amigos.

The were born to mother, Lola, and father, Chester, on April 2.

Capybara are the largest rodents in the world, measuring up to 130cm in length, and closely resemble giant guinea pigs.

The scientific name for this species is hydrochaeris, which 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. 

The arrival of the two latest capybara babies means that Belfast Zoo is 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."

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