Meet Poquito, our baby Paca
A few weeks ago, Poquito helped us welcome in the new year. Poquito is a Paca, which is a member of the rodent family found in Central and South America.
He weighed only 1.25 pounds at birth, and his mother Piña didn’t really know what to do with him. This meant that we had to step in to hand raise him, and he’s been receiving “round the clock” feedings from his mom, Keeper Kim. He is doing great, eating like a champ, and is very inquisitive and sweet. He is also starting his harness and leash training which is a key step to becoming an ambassador animal.
Pacas are very unusual animals. Besides their unique markings of dots and stripes, they typically produce only one offspring at a time and carry them for four months. Compare that with mice who have litters with 3-12 babies and carry them for 19-23 days, and it’s easy to see why each birth is a special event. Additionally, these little fellows are born with their eyes open and ready to go.
They love to swim and are great swimmers. We have a pond in their habitat, and we’ll often find them there to cool off on hot days. Nearby, you can see a photo of Pico enjoying a dip in the pool.
Pico and Piña are “creature teachers” that teach about their important role as seed dispersers they play in keeping rain forests healthy. They regularly appear in our “The Emerald Forest” education program, and baby Paca Poquito will join them when he is older.
Currently you can meet Pico and Piña during our Experience tours.