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Baby Capybara Welcomed by San Diego Zoo

capybara baby San Diego Zoo
This "master of the grass," or capybara, has teeth to nibble on grass at just one day old. (Image credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo)

A single capybara baby made its public debut at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday.

At 1 day old, this little baby weighs 3 to 5 pounds and has teeth that let it nibble on grasses. Capy what? The word capybara means "master of the grass" and its scientific name, Hydrochoerus, means "water hog" because of its love for water.

The capybara, however, is not a pig at all but the world's largest rodent species, as an adult male can weigh up to 141 pounds and a female up to 146 pounds. The sex of the pup is unknown. This is the second capybara born in the past week. Capybara females in a group are known to help care for and even nurse each other's young.

The Zoo's Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey habitat is now home to nine capybaras.

Live Science Staff
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