Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 15:54 UK

Wildlife park rodent family grows

Capybara family
The four babies were the third litter their mother had produced

Four members of the world's largest rodent species have been born in Kent.

The capybara babies, usually found in South America, were born at Howletts Wild Animal Park and will each grow to weigh up to 10 stone (63.5kg).

Keeper Helen Rhodes said the four youngsters were the third litter their mother had produced.

She added: "They're really good swimmers and they do live in big groups in the wild, so they seem a lot happier now there's quite a few more of them."

Ms Rhodes added: "Capybara can be quite friendly - the male is extremely friendly - you can go up to him and give him a scratch.

"But we do have to be very careful. They could be vicious, especially when they've got young around."

She said capybara were related to chinchillas and guinea pigs and were the largest living rodent in the world.

The wild animal park said capybara were fairly rare, with not many to be found in Europe, but not endangered.


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