Golfers at the Rio Olympics course are dealing with owls, capybaras and crocodiles invading their field of play.

By Alex Heigl
Updated August 12, 2016 02:19 PM
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olympic rats - pets
Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

In the flurry of Olympic coverage, there’s been shockingly little attention paid to one of the more interesting aspects of Rio facing athletes: The local fauna.

For example, golfers have had to contend with Brazil’s native Garcia owls burrowing into the sand bunkers, as well as fairway visits from the world’s largest rodent, the capybara.

“It’s a good incentive to stay in the fairway,” Britain’s Justin Rose told USA Today. “The coolest thing to me is that mega rat that lives out here. I saw him on the fifth hole, the par 5.” (Rose is presumably referring to a capybara.)

The golf course’s menagerie has given us some of the more amusing interviews of Rio, such as U.S. golfer Patrick Reed musing (again, to USA Today) about which kind of snake he’d prefer to fight.

“I heard there’s coral snakes out here,” Reed said. “If there’s a boa constrictor, I’ll fight one of those before I’ll fight a coral snake … I think a boa constrictor, if you were to have any kind of encounter with a snake like that, you have enough people here where you could figure out a way to fight it off.” (This is probably true.)

Reed added that he’d seen a crocodile near the No. 10 hole, which is, of the animals mentioned thus far, probably the one most likely to pose a threat to golfers.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Gil Hanse, who built the Rio course, put the whole thing next to a nature preserve, which was met with considerable disdain from some quarters when the location was announced.