Four of the world's largest rodents have taken up residence at Wellington Zoo, in time for its 110th birthday.
The capybara arrived in the city on Sunday from France and though technically still in quarantine until next week, have gone on public display from today.
The male of the group, Guarani, spent the morning exploring his and his three female companions' enclosure. The females will be gradually introduced over the coming days.
All four were born in captivity and have arrived from Parc Zoologique de Paris where they'll eventually be part of the regional breeding programme.
Auckland Zoo already has capybara and so do a number of zoos in Australia, and this new population are unrelated to them all.
Capybara can grow to up to 1.2m long, and weigh up to 65kg. They are semi-aquatic and spend some of their time in and under water.
"In the wild they will escape from predators by diving into water and they've got some special adaptations to stay underwater for long periods of time," animal science manager Simon Eyre says.
"They've got webbed toes much like a duck and their ears can flatten up against the side of the head to stop water going in too much."
The south and central American natives aren't considered endangered, but their numbers have been affected by hunting and habitat loss.
In the wild, they live mostly in ponds, rivers and lakes and are normally seen co-habiting in peace with other animals.
The herbivores eat mostly grass, water plants and vegetables as well as fruit and tree bark.
Wellington Zoo opened on April 21, 1906.