Double the cuteness at the Houston Zoo! Two healthy capybara pups were born April 11 to first-time mom, Squirt, and dad, Rio. The brother and sister have been named Bruno and Pepa after characters from the beloved children’s film “Encanto.” Squirt gave birth to the pups behind the scenes in the Zoo’s South America’s Pantanal exhibit under supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. After delivery, Squirt and the pups spent several days bonding privately before making their public debut. This is the third capybara litter the Zoo has had in the past 10 years.
Native to Central and South America, capybaras are the largest rodent in the world. They are related to the guinea pig and weigh 50 times as much. Capybaras are born with fur, opened eyes and a full set of teeth. They grow and learn very fast. Bruno and Pepa started eating solids the day after they were born, typical for the species as their teeth develop rapidly. Bruno and Pepa are already excellent swimmers and will adopt a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Capybara’s webbed feet help them swim and traverse in soft, muddy ground and can stay underwater for up to five minutes. They can also press their ears against their heads to keep water out and once they exit the water, their thin coat of coarse hair dries quickly.
You can see capybaras in the Zoo’s South America’s Pantanal exhibit in the grasslands habitat.
By visiting the Houston Zoo guests are saving wild capybara families in Brazil. The Zoo provides support for our Brazilian conservation partners to protect wildlife from fires and find solutions to prevent animals from being hit by cars on major roads across the region.