In preparation for Thursday’s historic opening round, golfers are getting to know Rio de Janeiro's Olympic course ... And the animals that inhabit it.
The track is situated in the Barra da Tijuca region of Rio, home to an array of exotic animals including crocodiles, three-toed sloths, monkeys, owls, boa constrictors and other native wildlife.
While owls have burrowed holes in some of the 79 course bunkers, the creature getting the most attention looks like a cross between a groundhog and a boar.
It’s called a capybara, the largest rodent in the world, weighing up to 150 pounds. While intimidating in size and looks, the vegetarian animal is harmless.
Last year the Olympic course was constructed on the edge of a nature preserve despite protests from environmental activists. Although 40 of the giant rodents were moved to a marsh behind fences, some dodged capture and remained on the course.
The animals have caught players' fancy with many halting their practice rounds to take a photo, including Sergio Garcia. Will Garcia take home the gold? Or a capybara? Tune in Thursday to find out!