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Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s capybara dies following attack by anteater

A capybara and an anteater share an enclosure at Fresno Chaffee Zoo in 2008. Last week, one of the zoo’s capybaras was attacked by an anteater and had to be euthanized by veterinarians.
A capybara and an anteater share an enclosure at Fresno Chaffee Zoo in 2008. Last week, one of the zoo’s capybaras was attacked by an anteater and had to be euthanized by veterinarians. Fresno Bee file

A capybara was attacked by an anteater in a Fresno Chaffee Zoo enclosure and had to be euthanized, zoo officials confirmed.

The animals had shared the enclosure for more than seven years, said Scott Barton, the zoo’s director. The anteater-capybara enclosure is not part of the new African Adventure exhibit.

Zookeepers don’t know what caused the attack last week, but Barton theorized that the anteater may have been frightened by the capybara, a giant rodent similar to a guinea pig.

“What set it off,” he said, “we have no idea.”

Zoo veterinarians, he said, thought the capybara’s injuries were too severe to save it.

Capybaras and anteaters are from South America. They are commonly placed in the same enclosures in zoos around the world.

Anteaters have extremely sharp claws that are generally used for digging out their prey, Barton said.

It’s the second animal death in recent days at the zoo. On Sunday night, a baby giraffe died in the zoo during a special viewing event for VIPs of the African Adventure exhibit, which opened to the public on Thursday.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin

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