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Rodents

Capybara

Little Rock Zoo is home to a pair of Capybaras; Delta and Junior.

  • Sometimes referred to as the giant guinea pig, the Capybara comes from South America and is the world's largest rodent species, and can grow to over 1m in length.
  • They're able to stay submerged in water for around five minutes with very little of their body showing - helping them to avoid detection by predators such as jaguars, anacondas and caiman.
  • Their scientific name means ‘water pig’, and their bodies have been specially adapted for swimming - with webbed feet and their eyes, ears and nostrils located on top of their heads.

While the capybara is not currently classified as an endangered species, it is threatened by habitat degradation and illegal poaching for its meat and skin, which can be turned into leather.  Please join our efforts to secure a future for this species by donating to our conservation fund.

Indian Crested Porcupine

Porcupine hair is modified to form spines or quills. There are layers of these quills, longer and thinner one on the top with thicker, shorter ones underneath. Each of these quills is black to brown in color with varying bands of white. The tail is covered in short, whitish spines, some of which are hollow and produce a rattling sound when shaken. Their hands and feet are broad with sharp claws. They also possess small eyes and large noses.

Range/Habitat:

The Indian porcupine is found throughout southeast and central Asia and in parts of the Middle East, including such countries as India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia. They inhabit a variety of habitats, favoring rocky hillsides but also tropical and temperate scrublands, grasslands, and forests.

Size:

Body length: 2.25-3 feet, Tail length: 3-4in. Weight: 24-40lbs.

  • Indian crested porcupine quills may reach lengths of up to one foot!
  • Porcupine quills are simply modified hair. African crested porcupine quills are very sharp and hollow.

IUCN lists as a species of least concern. Their population remains steady do to their adaptability to habitats and food types. They are considered pests in some areas due to their destructive nature of crops and gardens. They are also hunted as a food source.

Conservation Action:

This species lives in some protected areas.

Naked Mole Rat

They are naked and have pink or brown skin. Babies have dark spots on their skin which fade over time. They do, however, have small fringe like hairs covering their body. Males and females are not sexually dimorphic, however, the queen and the breeding males are the largest in the colony. They have very small eyes with thick eyelids to protect against the sun. Because they live underground they tend to rely on other senses such as hearing and touch.

Habitat/Range:

Naked mole rats live in eastern Africa in underground tunnels of grasslands and savannas.

Size:

Length: 5-6.5in. Weight: 1-3oz.

Each naked mole rat colony possesses their own specific odor which distinguishes them from other colonies should they come into contact.

Least Concern. However, in the future as humans encroach on their land they could become a problem for farmers as they would eat the crops such as sweet potato and corn.

Conservation Actions:

They are an important species for ecotourism and are protected in nature parks and zoos.

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