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    Wildlife Park Children's Blog

    Liz Brunswick with Slinky

    Who's Been Eating the Fence?

    The photo below gives the game away - I spotted this capybara busily gnawing at the fence this week. Of course he stopped when he saw me get my camera out, but you can see the damage his sharp teeth have done! Actually capybaras need to nibble hard things like wood because they are rodents. Rodents need to gnaw because their front teeth never stop growing. If they didn't wear down their teeth, they would actually grow too long and cause problems.

    Other animals which are rodents include squirrels, hamsters, mice, and guinea pigs. In fact capybaras are very similar to guinea pigs - just bigger! If you keep a rodent as a pet it is important to provide hard things like wood for it to chew on, otherwise it may suffer from overgrown teeth. At the Park we give the capybaras branches to chew but they seem to prefer the fences!

    This close-up photo of the capybara shows something really interesting, which helps capybaras in the wild to escape from predators such as jaguars. Look at its ears, eyes and nostrils and you will see that they are all on the same level. You could almost draw a line across them with your ruler.

    How does this help? Well, capybaras use the river as a hiding place. They can stay underwater for ages by keeping just the very top part of their head (with their eyes, nose and ears) out of the water. It just looks like a bit of old branch so no one would guess that the capybara was there. Clever or what!

    Come and see them soon.

    Best wishes

    Liz x


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