A capybara at a wildlife park in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, has bitten two small children and injured one of them seriously.
Officials at Gunma Safari Park say a one-year-old boy was knocked down from behind and had his back bitten by a capybara on September 25. The child was playing in a section where visitors can have direct contact with capybaras.
The officials say that two days later, a six-year-old girl had her head and neck bitten by what is believed to be the same female capybara that had bitten the boy.
The girl reportedly got nine stitches on the back of her neck. The injuries are expected to take two weeks to heal.
After the first incident, the park put up a sign warning children about capybaras and had keepers on constant alert at the capybara section.
The officials say, however, the second incident occurred when keepers were working about 20 meters away from where visitors were with capybaras.
The park has placed makeshift fences to divide the animals and children. It plans to replace them with more solid ones to prevent children from having direct contact with capybaras.
The park's curator, Kitamura Shoji, has apologized to the victims for their injuries. He said that he expects the partitions can ensure safety of visitors.