Critters Corner ~ Capybara

Riverview Park & Zoo’s Animal Spotlight

Meet the largest rodent in the world, the Capybara. Resident of the Riverview Park and Zoo, Pablo was adopted from our friends at the Toronto Zoo in 2015, and has brought great joy to visitors and staff since his arrival. 

Capybara are most abundant in seasonally flooded grasslands in South America, giving the species its common name that translates to “master of the grasses”.

Weighing as much as an adult human and measuring over 39 inches in length, Capybara are characterized by short robust legs, a large blunt head, heavy muzzle, and rudimentary tail to support their unique body shape. 

Pablo is an avid swimmer and has several adaptations to accommodate his partly aquatic lifestyle. While swimming, he can protrude his rounded ears, eyes, and snout out of the water as they are placed high on the head to help him breathe and see while he swims. The body of a Capybara is naturally buoyant in water, as they are abundant in fatty tissue. The feet are also partially webbed to help them maneuver in water.

Find out more about the species that live at the only free-admission accredited zoo in Canada by visiting our website

By Nathalie Desilets, Public Educator

Riverview Park and Zoo