THE LARGEST rodents in the world have been born for the first time ever at Drusillas Zoo.
Two capybara babies, descended from a species in South America, were born at the zoo on August 23 to proud parents Hector and Tullula.
Drusillas holds the UK Register for capybara which means zoo manager Sue Woodgate helps co-ordinate the movement of the species for breeding and gives advice to other zoos on how these animals should be kept.
Hector and Tullula were introduced to the zoo in 2010 as part of the breeding programme.
Tullula came from Marwell Wildlife in November 2005 followed by Hector from Reaseheath College last October.
Capybara live in pairs, family groups or in larger mixed herds. They can have up to eight young at a time.
The delightful new duo have been exploring their environment and are already eating vegetables and browse, although they are still being nursed by their mother.
Both babies were born covered in fur and could run, swim and dive within hours of birth – althought their scampering around is not without danger.
Sue Woodgate, zoo manager, said: “I was passing the capybara enclosure recently when I noticed that one of the babies was trapped in the pond and unable to get out.
“However, Hector quickly came to the rescue, swimming over to the edge of the water and bridging the gap so the baby could climb up him onto land – it was very sweet to watch.”