Spring River Zoo has some new residents. Three young capybaras are settling into their new home at the Roswell zoo since making their public debut at the facility Dec. 18.
The trio of male capybaras are almost five months old. They came to Spring River Zoo from Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Litchfield Park, Ariz., where they were born Aug. 1. The Arizona facility worked with Spring River Zoo to provide the capybaras, a species that was part of the Roswell zoo’s collection plan to add to its roster of animals. These are the first capybaras Spring River Zoo has ever had.
Capybaras are the largest of the rodents native to South America. They are herbivores, eating mostly plants, often grass. Their lifespan averages six to 10 years, but some live longer. While the new arrivals in Roswell – which have yet to receive names – are still relatively small, as adults they can be three and a half feet to four and a half feet long and weigh about 80 to 140 pounds, although some have been known to grow beyond that.
The capybaras arrived at Spring River Zoo Aug. 31, thanks to donations from Derik and Kelly Smith and the Friends of Spring River Zoo that made this addition possible. Following their arrival, the capybaras were quarantined for 30 days, during which their health and behaviors were monitored. Prior to release from quarantine, each individual received an examination by a veterinarian.
The zoo staff prepared the capybara exhibit by cultivating the proper types of grasses and other plants, and ensuring the pool and exhibit are safe while providing complexity of choice for both physical and behavioral stimulation.