Capybaras, please come in:African Safari Wildlife Park announces the addition of world’s largest rodent

You’re probably happy your house isn’t home to the world’s largest rodents, but for the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, it’s a selling point.

The enduring attraction at 267 S. Lightner Road recently announced plans to add capybaras to its Walk-Thru Safari

Found in wetlands throughout much of South America, capybaras are closely related to Guinea pigs, with many of the creatures being known for their “chill” personality, states a news release from the park.

“Capybaras have become very popular over the past few years, and our guests have told us over and over that they want to see capybaras at the park,” said Kelsey Keller, its director, in the release. “It wasn’t something we wanted to rush into. We put a lot of time, energy and research into designing and building the perfect home for these animals and making sure this habitat functions as a learning opportunity for our guests.”

She’s referring to a habitat that’s about 1,500 square feet and “outfitted with naturalistic features” including a pool, waterfall and plenty of shade, the release states. The space is getting a few finishing touches before the not-so-little guys and gals arrive in late May.

In mid-June, the park plans to introduce a “capybara encounter,” in which guests can feed and learn about them.

“There’s definitely a ‘cool factor’ to getting up close and personal with a Capybara, but this is first and foremost an educational opportunity for our guests,” Keller adds in the release. “We want to make sure they walk away with an appreciation for capybaras and other animals that depend on lakes and rivers to survive.”

The release suggests that while capybaras are not threaten with extinction, “they serve as ambassadors for vulnerable freshwater ecosystems around the world.”