Capybara Nov babies Press Release

The capybaras at the Izu Shaboten Park in Shizuoka Prefecture are somewhat of a celebrity here in Japan, and you may recall this isn’t the first time we’ve brought you a story about them. Now, we’re pleased to report that the lovable rodents have recently welcomed some adorable new additions to their family. So, here’s your chance to meet the new babies of the family, and what’s more, you may even be able to give them a name!

Izu Shaboten Park, which is a combined botanical garden and zoo, announced that the capybara couple Rai and Ikura had four babies on November 2, and as part of the park’s “New Capybara Baby Campaign”, they are currently holding a naming contest for the babies. The contest runs until December 31, but you do have to visit the park to enter the competition, as names have to be submitted into the entry box in front of the capybara exhibit. This apparently seems to have become a rather popular event; the park received an impressive 628 entries the last time they had a similar naming contest for a trio of babies born in May this year from the same couple.

▼ The four baby capybaras born about two weeks ago — just adorable!

Capybara Nov babies group

Capybara Nov babies nursing

As you may know, capybaras are the largest rodents in the world and are native to South America, growing to lengths of 1.0 to 1.3m (3ft 3in to 4ft 3 in) and weighing an average of about 50kg (110 lb) as an adult. What has made the capybaras at Izu Shaboten Park famous in particular, is that each winter, you can see them soaking in a hot spring onsen! And they even observe the Japanese tradition of enjoying a bath filled with yuzu citrus fruit on Winter Solstice Day. In fact, the capybaras at the park have been taking hot spring baths for over thirty years now. Okay, so biologically speaking, capybaras may be close to being giant rats, but that doesn’t change the fact that they look darn cute soaking in the hot water with what appears to us to be various expressions of bliss.

▼ Talk about being pampered — these guys really seem to enjoy the hot spring bath

Capybara citrus 1

Capybara citrus 3

The park’s capybara family at present numbers nine — the parents, the three youngsters born earlier this year in May and the four newborns.

▼ The proud parents: Rai, the four-year-old dad …

Capybara family dad Rai

▼ … and Ikura, the five-year-old mom

Capybara family mom Ikura

▼ Fuji, Daizu and Croquette, who were born in May this year

Capybara May 2013 babies

This winter season, the capybara family will be enjoying their hot spring bath from November 23 to April 6, from 10:30am on weekdays and from 1:30pm on weekends and holidays. To celebrate the birth of the baby capybaras, the park will also be giving out a total of 300 commemorative stickers (while supplies last) to guests who can show that they’ve taken pictures of the babies, as well as offering special deals until mid-December such as discounts on capybara snacks and toy items sold at the park shop and free drinks with the park’s original “capybara variety lunch” meal.

So, if you happen to be in the area, why not drop by the Izu Shaboten Park to say hello to the newborn capybaras and think of a cute name for them? The peaceful look on the capybaras’ faces as they relax in the hot bath will most surely bring you comfort too … and maybe make you want to visit an onsen yourself!

The Izu Shaboten Park is open 9:00 – 17:00 from March to October and 9:00 – 16:00 from November to February.
Address: 1317-13 Futo, Ito-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture 413-0231
Access: Take Tokaido Shinaknsen/Tokaido Honsen line to Atami Station; from Atami, take the Ito line to Ito Station; approx 35 min by bus or 25 min by taxi from Ito Station

Source: Izu Shaboten Park websitePress Release via Hatena Bookmark
Photos: Izu Shaboten Park (123, 45)