San Diego Zoo welcomed four new golden children recently. These little guys are capybara pups and will grow to be the world’s largest rodent. This morning these animals received their first health check from vets at the zoo.
During the course of their exam their eyes, ears and overall health were checked. A sample of their golden locks were also collected so that their gender can be determined. As a rodent they will not have any signs of their gender until they reach maturity. For a capybara this occurs between 18 months and 2 years.
Currently the capybara pups are tipping the scales between 1.6 and 1.8kg (3.5 and 4lb). As adults they may weigh up to 48.9kg (108lb).
An experienced mother, Buttercup gave birth to the pups at 6am on August 10th. So far she has had six litters and a total of 23 pups. Their dad is named Wesley.
While Buttercup is their mum all the females in the group help to care for the young including giving them some milk. Already they are exploring their habitat and swimming in their pond. Water is important part of a capybara’s life as their skin is dry meaning they regularly need to take a dip.
Native to South and Central America these animals are found on riverbanks, beside ponds and marshes.
Currently these animals are threatened by deforestation and illegal poaching though they are not yet classified as endangered. Their names have actually rebounded from not long ago when they were almost hunted to extinction. They had been used for years as food and also for the local people to make ornaments out of their teeth.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo