It’s not quite the time of year you’d expect us to be welcoming new arrivals at Flamingo Land, but the animals don’t seem to mind! This week we’re pleased to announce the birth of three new capybara babies. You would be forgiven for mistaking these South American animals for giant guinea pigs or beavers, as they all belong to the same family of mammals known as rodents. Many of you may have a mouse or a rabbit as a pet, but capybara are on a different scale entirely. At over a metre in length and standing up to 65cm tall, they are the world’s largest rodent! However, they are gentle, sociable creatures, eating mainly grass and fruit and living in groups of around 10-20 in the wild.
Capybara are very agile on land, capable of running as fast as a horse to escape their natural predators, which include big cats and eagles. Despite this, they are just at home in the water, with webbed feet and coarse fur that is perfectly designed to dry out quickly after being submerged. They are excellent swimmers and can remain completely under water for up to five minutes! Capybaras are quite distinctive looking in that their eyes, ears and nostrils are all located on the top of their head. This means that very little of their body is exposed when in water, yet they can still retain their sight, hearing and sense of smell. If they are feeling particularly vulnerable they can even go to sleep under the water with just their nostrils poking out!
You can see the new babies from our Treetop Walkway, which you can find opposite the baboons or behind the Muddy Duck Farm.
They can often be found by the water’s edge near the bridge, so keep an eye out! The zoo is open during weekends and school holidays over the winter period (see our website for full details), and with tickets from just £7.50, it makes for the perfect family day out!