capybaraimage credit: Melanie Typaldos, via

First seen on Neatorama, the story of Melanie Typaldos of Texas and her pet Capybara named Caplin Rous is a thoroughly entertaining read. You can view the whole interview at this site but here are some highlights:

What kind of a pet is a capybara? How smart? And what kind of temperament?

When we questioned locals in Venezuela, they stated in no uncertain terms that capybaras are the dumbest animals on the planet. Our experience is quite the opposite. Caplin is at least as smart as a dog, although differently motivated. He won’t do anything if there isn’t something in it for him…In a single word, I would describe him as needy. He always wants to be with me and can “eep” loudly if he knows I am nearby but he can’t get to me.

What is it that you like so much about capybaras?

What I love most about Caplin is how much he loves me and how smart he is. I also love his noises. When people hear him they are always amazed. His voice is often mistaken for a birdsong. When he’s nervous he sounds like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. When he’s happy he sounds like a Geiger counter.

What about capybaras do you think would come as a surprise to someone who doesn’t have one as a pet?

People with some prior knowlege would be most surprised by what active and agile swimmers they are…Caplin is a very graceful in the water, more like an otter than a dog…I love to watch him play with his pool toys. He especially loves to swim through hoops.

Here’s Caplin surfing:

capybaraimage credit:

The capybara may resemble a large, hairy pig but it is actually the largest living rodent in the world. Although, the capybara’s scientific name, hydrochaeris, is Greek for “Water Hog.” Seen here with its mother is a baby capybara. Babies weigh around 2 pounds (adults reach 60-140 lbs) and can see at birth. Females can have up to 6 babies a year.
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At the Nagasaki Bio Park in Japan, visitors are allowed to pet these adorable rodents and even place kapibara-san toys on them. These capybaras don’t look particularly thrilled with their stuffed animal accessories. Kapibara-san is a Japanese character based off of the capybara which is extremely “kawaii” or cute.

capybaraimage credit: TamgotchiSuper

capybaraimage credit: Supervliegzus

The Japanese really do love their Capybaras. At the Tobu zoo in Japan, squirrel monkeys and capybaras are roommates in their enclosure and they are getting along famously. The squirrel monkeys sit on the backs of the capybaras, grooming and kissing the hairy beasts (Though sometimes they aren’t all that friendly…SEE VIDEO!) Both species are native to South America but in the wild their paths would never cross. Squirrel monkeys live in the forests while capybaras prefer life on river banks.

capybaraimage credit: Alexander Yates

capybaraimage credit: Dan Murrell Jr

Capybaras LOVE the water. Swimming is one of their favorite hobbies in fact. Their feet are even webbed to help them keep up with their fish friends. They typically swim with just their nostrils, eyes, and ears exposed above the water but are able to survive up to five minutes underwater.

Habitat: South America
Status: Least concern

Thanks for the featured creature suggestion, Scott!