Bathtime for the capybara family

With the late spring chill finally coming to an end, the five-member capybara family can look forward to the summer sunshine at Hellabrunn Zoo this weekend.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Eva Korb

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Daniela Hierl

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Daniela Hierl

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Manuela Ortner

As the temperatures in Munich begin to rise, the capybaras finally have a chance to splash about outdoors in their large watercourse. It will be the first time for Pinto and Pacita, the two pups who were born on 24 October 2015 at Hellabrunn. And the bathing and wallowing in the waterhole will be particularly great fun for the pups, who are expected to live up to their name as capybaras or water pigs. However, the latter description is not quite accurate: While it is true that capybaras live near bodies of water in their natural habitat in South America and love to bathe, they are not pigs, but rather the largest rodent in the world. Capybaras live in the tropical rainforest as well as in swamps and savannas in South America. The capybara family at Hellabrunn Zoo consists of two parents (both almost four years old), one young female born in March 2015 and the twin pups born in October.

At Hellabrunn Zoo, the capybaras live on the same continent with rheas, Darwin's rheas, vicunas, maras and an old female anteater in one large residential community. The community of animals living together under one continent allows visitors to catch an exciting glimpse of the wildlife of South America. The coexistence of very different species also offers variety and enrichment to the animals living in the commune.

New residents in the animal commune:

Since last winter, the animals living in the South America enclosure have received new members:  a pair of Darwin's Rheas, originating from Patagonia. This near threatened species of flightless bird (ratite) from South American is rarely found in any zoo in Germany. The Hellabrunn pair consists of a male born in Edinburgh and a female from the Zlín-Lešná Zoo in the Czech Republic. These beautiful birds with fluffy-looking feathers are particularly threatened in their South American habitat by the expansion of cattle ranching and targeted hunting. Hellabrunn is hoping to succeed in breeding this attractive species in the next few years.