World's largest rodent finds new home at Taronga Zoo

World's largest rodent finds new home at Taronga Zoo

#Animals, #Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 26th September 2019 by Media Relations

Taronga Zoo today announced the opening of the new Capybara habitat, which is the first time these adorable animals will be on display in Sydney. Opening just in time for the school holidays, the new Capybara habitat will be home to a herd of five cheeky new recruits - Pedro, Guillermo, Sanchez, Carlos and Rodney.

Capybaras are the largest rodent on the Earth, and have a personality to match, so they are certain to entertain as they settle into their new home. Their new habitat at Taronga incorporates open, grassed areas for grazing, large trees to provide shade, thicker shrubbery for shelter, and a large water feature for swimming and soaking.

Native to South America, Capybaras are a semi-aquatic mammal with webbed feet. To cool off in the summer heat and get away from predators, they can dive and stay underwater for up to five minutes at a time. On land they can reach speeds up to 35km/hr, and socialise in groups of fellow mates. In groups, these social critters can be heard communicating with each other by purring, barking, cackling, whistling, squealing and grunting, with each sound delivering a different message and meaning.

Taronga Zoo Director, Mr Simon Duffy is excited to introduce everyone to the newest additions to the Taronga Zoo family.

“The opening of the new Capybara habitat at Taronga Zoo, is part of our evolution as a modern zoo. A zoo visit today is about being inspired by some of the world’s wildlife while also discovering ways each of us can live more sustainably and conserve wildlife,” said Mr Duffy.

“We want to educate people when they come into the zoo about the wild, in ways which are dignified for the animals, but also exciting for visitors. With the nature of Capybaras being very social, we’ve designed the new habitat, to allow visitors to get up and close to these animals, so people can really get to know them,” said Mr Duffy.

Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean said the Capybara habitat will help educate visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation in Australia and globally.

“Empowering all Australians to be a champion of our environment is key to protecting it and education plays a vital role. We have the opportunity to leave our environment and our planet in a better place than we found it and it’s important we take it,” Mr Kean said.

“The new habitat shows how Taronga Zoo is best placed to significantly contribute to conservation programs, with their skilled animal experts, research and advocacy. I’m thrilled to welcome these Capybaras to the Zoo,” said Mr Kean.

Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Capybara habitat is open daily during Taronga Zoo’s opening hours 9:30am – 5pm. To book tickets, visit here.