Capy days as Lotherton welcomes surprise new arrival: Baby capy grab

08 May 2024

Capy days as Lotherton welcomes surprise new arrival

Lotherton Hall Parks and countryside Museums and galleries

An adorable new arrival took staff at a Leeds wildlife attraction by surprise by becoming an unexpected addition to their family of cuddly Capybara.

Keepers at Lotherton Wildlife World recently entered the animals’ enclosure as normal to carry out their routine daily welfare checks and feeding.

But when they approached female Carly, they could tell her behaviour was different to usual, and soon saw why when they caught a glimpse of the tiny pup she had been carrying for the past few months.

The baby, the first to ever be born at Wildlife World, has since been making itself at home at the Aberford estate, getting to know its fellow residents and exploring its surroundings.

Expert vets and keepers will now keep a close eye on the newborn for the next few weeks, before carrying out health checks and determining if it is a male or female.

Wildlife World is then planning to give local schools the chance to choose a name for the pup in a competition set to be launched later this summer.

Daniel Messer, Wildlife World’s zoo manager, said: “We were absolutely delighted to find that overnight, Carly had given birth to a healthy pup.

“Capybara are a highly social species and can often live in large groups. Both mum Carly and dad Bryan are doing really well caring for the newborn, we are keeping a close eye on the pup and will be having our vet give them another health check soon. We can’t wait for visitors to come and see this new member of the Lotherton family."

Baby Capy pic 2

Often compared to giant guinea pigs, Capybara are the world’s largest rodent. In the wild, they live in a range of South American habitats including rainforests, forests, savannahs and wetlands.

Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, their Latin name roughly translates to water-pig, due to the fact they spend most of their life in or near water where they live mostly on a diet of grass, fruit and tree bark.

At Lotherton, they are among a collection of animals protected and preserved by the site, some of which are part of international breeding and conservation programmes.

Among them are different animals from all over the world, including critically endangered species such as the Visayan warty pig, cotton top tamarin and the Edwards pheasant. They live at Lotherton along with Arthur, the attraction’s low land tapir.

Wildlife World is also home to the hugely popular 120,000 litre penguin pool, which is the playground for an excitable colony of Humboldt penguins.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council's executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said: “It’s always exciting to welcome new arrivals at Wildlife World and to introduce them to our visitors.

“It’s also important to be doing our part to protect vulnerable species and ensure they are still here for future generations.”

For more details on Wildlife World, please visit:


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