Brownsville, Texas (March 9, 2023) – Staff at Gladys Porter Zoo is very pleased to announce that Amber, a 2-year-old capybara, gave birth to three healthy pups on Tuesday, February 7th. Aside from Amber being a first-time mom, this is also the first capy birth for the staff at Gladys Porter Zoo.
The Zoo last had capybaras in the early 1970s, however, they never reproduced. “It’s been many years since we’ve had capybaras in our collection,” said Walter DuPree, the Zoo’s Curator of Mammals. “Then, in 2017, we put an old capybara pair on exhibit. They were very popular with our visitors, but too old to breed. It’s great for all of us to have a family of five on exhibit now!”
Amber gave birth at her residence under the watchful eye of her caregivers and the visiting public. Even though she is a new mother, her natural instincts kick in right away, and she does a great job of taking care of her children.
The sire of the offspring is the 2-year-old Hercules. He was donated to the Gladys Porter Zoo in the spring of 2022 by the Montgomery Zoo. In accordance with the AZA Species Survival Plan for capybara, Hercules and Amber are recommended to produce pups. Fortunately, Amber and Hercules became fast friends and she became pregnant a few months after being released from quarantine.
Capybaras have a gestation period of five months, and litter sizes range from two to eight pups. Although they weigh only two to three pounds at birth, the babies look like little adults and start eating leafy plants almost immediately. In 15 months they are fully grown, standing two feet tall, and females can weigh up to 170 pounds. Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. Although they are not listed as Endangered, they are threatened by habitat destruction and poaching.
Amber, Hercules and their offspring are on exhibit for the public to see. For more information, visit www.gpz.org.