Cincinnati Zoo welcomes new capybaras

2015-05-13 Zoo Gladys Mona Bonobos Capabaras 1 584

CINCINNATI (May 21, 2015) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is excited to welcome three capybaras [ka-pi-ˈber-ə], also known as water pigs, to their new home in Wildlife Canyon. “Cassatot” (male, born 11/17/13) and brothers “Aqua” and “Hydro” (born 9/14/14) come from

the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas and are the first of their species to live at the Cincinnati Zoo.

VIDEO of capybaras in their exhibit in Wildlife Canyon

Falling into the so-ugly-it’s-cute category, the herbivorous capybara is a semi-aquatic rodent found in Central and South America. The world’s largest rodents stand two feet tall and can weigh as much as 140 pounds. These intelligent, chatty animals live in groups near water and communicate using scent and sound.

Capybaras are excellent swimmers. Their nostrils have adapted over time to sit high on the snout, allowing them to stay submerged for up to five minutes at a time! Their natural predators are jaguars and cougars, but they remain a common sight and are not rare or endangered.

“It’s always fun to introduce a new species at the Zoo, especially one that is so interesting to observe and listen to.  In addition to being the largest rodents, capybaras are also the most vocal.  You can hear them in Wildlife Canyon making clicking, grunting and squealing sounds,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard.