Capybaras Luis Suarez and Fernando have travelled down from Auckland Zoo to join Brooklands Zoo's collection of exotic animals.

Capybaras are regarded as the giants of the rodent world, as they grow up to 130cm long and weigh between 37kg and 67kg when fully grown (the females are usually larger than males).

New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) spokeswoman Jacqueline Baker says they're a fantastic addition to Brooklands Zoo.

"They're sure to be popular among visitors as they are social and can sleep in shallow water.

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"They love to be in water so they were a perfect fit for where the otters used to be."

Capybaras are semi-aquatic and can sleep in shallow water as their eyes, ears and nostrils are at the top of their heads.

They have partially webbed toes and are strong swimmers, and are native to Central and South America.

Brooklands Zoo fast facts:
• About 113,000 people visit Brooklands Zoo each year and it is owned, managed and funded by NPDC.
• The zoo has been a children's favourite and a New Plymouth icon since 1965.
• It features monkeys, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and mammals such as pigs, meerkats and rodents.
• The site is fully enclosed with a playground under a shade-sail, making it the perfect outdoor activity for families.
• The zoo is involved with conservation efforts for species such as the cotton-top tamarin, which are critically endangered in the wild.
• The zoo is a MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) approved facility.