28 Aug 2013

Capybara Lily is looking after her three new charges – two girls and a boy – with a little help from dad Mordon.

The unnamed month-old triplets have been given the once-over by keepers and vets and found to be doing really well.

As the world’s largest rodents, the Capybaras will eventually grow into rather sizeable youngsters.

Curator of Mammals Tim Rowlands said: “Triplets are a handful for any mum but Lily knows what she is doing. At the moment, the babies might look very similar but mum will be able to tell the three apart and will know exactly which one is which and what mischief they’re up to!

“By giving them a check over today we’ve been able to determine whether they’re boys or girls and, importantly, as with all babies, find out exactly what they weigh. It also helps us tell them apart so we know which one is which.”

The trio, who were also micro-chipped, tipped the scales at over 5kg each and they are the second set of triplets for Lily.

Capybaras can grow up to almost 1.5m in length and eventually weigh up 60 kilograms. They are native to South America and can be found living in small herds in wetlands across most of the continent.

Their scientific name means ‘water pig’, and their bodies have been specially adapted for swimming – with webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils located on top of their heads.

They are able to stay submerged in water for around five minutes. In the wild they are preyed upon by jaguars, anacondas and caiman and humans also hunt them for their meat and skin, which can be turned into leather.