Pittsburgh Zoo Welcomes The Capybara, World’s Largest Rodent

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It takes three zookeepers to lift a capybara, the world’s largest rodent.

“Lysa” is one of three capybaras recently added to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The newcomer gets a routine medical exam from Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, Director of Animal Care.

“They’re from Central and South America,” she explains. “They live in marshy areas in ponds, river banks, anywhere there’s water. They do that for moisture; they actually have dry skin so the water helps them.”

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Lysa is sort of a cross between a guinea pig and a beaver.

“They’re actually a very gentle animal and live in very large groupings,” Dr. Sturgeon says.

A capybara will eat up to eight pounds of vegetation each day. Lysa and the other two capybaras will be added to the zoo’s new Jungle Odyssey exhibit this summer.

Meanwhile, the 150 pound rodent’s next stop is the X-ray room. Although she is cute, in her own way, one can’t help thinking that Lysa is, in Dr. Stukrgeon’s words, “Like a nuclear rat on steroids!”

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