A Pet Capybara: Should I Have One?

I have spent several years in close/intimate contact with both pet capybaras and capybaras who live as part of a herd with other capybaras.

 

Romeo and Tuff'n. You can see Romeo's nose poking out from under the blanket, resting on little Tuff'n

Romeo and Tuff’n. You can see Romeo’s nose poking out from under the blanket, resting on little Tuff’n

 

I Believe that very, very few people would be able to provide the conditions necessary for their capybara to be happy as a pet.

Keeping a capybara as a pet, is nothing like having a pet cat or dog.   Cats and dogs have been domesticated over possibly as long as 35,000 years and have evolved so that they can coexist with humans and still have their emotional and physical needs met.   This is not the case with capybaras, who have evolved over 30 million years to be herd animals and to understand the communications and behaviour they encounter in the wild and from other capybaras.

Capybaras are intensely social, herd animals. They are very complex and sophisticated emotionally. They are also highly intelligent, at least as intelligent as the most intelligent dogs.

As herd animals they need a constant companion. If  a capybara’s primary bond is with a human and he becomes separated from that human, the separation anxiety the capybara experiences is far more intense than that of a dog. For this reason if  you care about the capybara’s happiness you must be prepared to be with him/her day and night. Not many people have the time and commitment needed to have a pet capybara.

There is a great deal of misinformation and inaccurate information about capybaras on the Internet.

Please also see our blogs:

Pet Capybara FAQs. The Questions People Always Ask:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/pet-capybara-faqs-the-questions-people-always-ask/

Capybara Facts and Information.  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Capybaras: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/capybara-facts-and-information-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ae%e4%ba%8b%e5%ae%9f%e3%81%a8%e6%83%85%e5%a0%b1/

How to Look after a Pet Capybara – The Capybaras Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/how-to-look-after-a-pet-capybara-the-capybaras-will-tell-you-everything-you-need-to-know/

A Day in the Life of a Pet Capybara: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-pet-capybara-%e3%83%9a%e3%83%83%e3%83%88%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ae%e5%af%bf%e5%91%bd%e3%83%87%e3%82%a4/

The Sounds Capybaras Make. Capybara’s Vocalisations, Calls and Barks: Information about the sounds capybaras make and links to videos where you can hear all the wonderful sounds and vocalisations which capybaras make:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/the-sounds-capybaras-make-capybaras-vocalisations-calls-and-barks-%e3%82%b5%e3%82%a6%e3%83%b3%e3%83%89%e3%81%af%e3%80%81%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%83%a1%e3%82%a4%e3%82%af%e3%80%82/

Our video: Even the Most Sweet Natured Capybara Can Turn Aggressive 甘い性格のペットカピバラは攻撃的になる

 

Two very important aspects of rodent behaviour have come out of research and from my observations these apply equally to capybaras. Firstly, capybaras like to be in control of their lives. This makes them quite different from dogs who will adapt their behaviour to please you. Not many people want a pet that very often will not do what you want him to do.
Secondly, marking their territory is an essential part of capybara behaviour. Leaving a trail of urine where ever they go is a normal social courtesy. Their urine is like a signature or business card. It contains chemical information that communicates an individual’s sex and social status and any health issues the capybara may be experiencing. A capybara’s urine also allows other capybaras to discern genetic relatedness, a process which may have evolved to avoid inbreeding.

Capybaras have not evolved to understand human behaviour. Watching pet capybaras interact with humans I often observe their frustration as they try to understand and make sense of the way their human behaves, and I believe this may be the reason why capybaras like Romeo become aggressive from time to time with no apparent warning. If the capybara was bonded with other capybaras he/she would understand their behaviour and not be under stress.

I believe that being bonded with a human is inherently stressful for a capybara.
Romeo is the most fantastic Capybara as anyone who has seen the videos of Romeo kissing Elizabeth Ojeda-Reeder Romeo-Tuffn will realise. But sometimes he becomes aggressive with no prior warning.  I believe that being bonded with a human, whose behaviour you often do not understand can be very stressful for a capybara,  Capybaras are wild animals and you never know how your actions might play out in the mind of a wild animal. It’s too easy to show how incredibly adorable capybaras are. I’ve seen a couple of blogs lately suggesting capybaras make great pets. This is absolute rubbish and very irresponsible. Capybaras need an immense amount of love, time and commitment. Very few people would be able to give this. Too many capybaras get rejected as they get bigger and older and end up in refuges or die prematurely.

A capybara in the wild would never be on its own. A lone capybara would be an easy target for predators. This behaviour has evolved over millions of years so if a capybara is bonded to a human and that human leaves the home, the capybara is instinctively extremely worried for the safety of that human. This puts an unacceptable level of stress on the poor capybara who has not evolved to be a human's pet

A capybara in the wild would never be on its own. A lone capybara would be an easy target for predators. This behaviour has evolved over millions of years so if a capybara is bonded to a human and that human leaves the home, the capybara is instinctively extremely worried for the safety of that human. This puts an unacceptable level of stress on the poor capybara who has not evolved to be a human’s pet

 

In the Wild a Capybara Would Never be Alone, he or she would always be Surrounded by the Herd. Here you can see some of the Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. No Human could give their Pet Capybara the Pleasure and Security that their Herd of Capybaras Provides

In the Wild a Capybara Would Never be Alone, he or she would always be Surrounded by the Herd. Here you can see some of the Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. No Human could give their Pet Capybara the Pleasure and Security that their Herd of Capybaras Provides

 

No capybara should ever sleep alone at night. A capybara in the wild would have the herd around him at all times. Even subordinate males are tolerated by the alpha male, on the periphery of the herd, as they act as a lookout and emit alarm calls to warn the herd if any danger approaches. (Subordinate males emit more alarm calls than the alpha male or the female capybaras in a wild herd.   Although each subordinate male mates with a female on fewer occasions than the alpha male, the total number of matings of all the subordinate males put together, is greater than that of the alpha male.)

If you are going to keep a pet capybara its needs MUST come first. It is potentially cruel to force the capybara into situations that make it anxious or fearful, to satisfy your needs or ego at the expense of the capybara’s happiness.

 

Romeo smiling

Romeo smiling

Capybaras need sun.  There is at least one capybara who lived inside the home in an enclosure and did not get enough, if any, sun. His bones were in a poor condition and his vet believed he should be put down so that he wouldn’t suffer any more.

Romeo and Tuff’n live as members of the family.  The people they live with have tried to understand the needs of a capybara living as a pet and have tried to fulfil their emotional, physical and nutritional needs with varying degrees of success. To do this you need to be sensitive, patient and intelligent.

Capybara’s natural behaviour includes marking their territory.  This is mostly done with urine, occasionally with faeces.  Not many people can cope with an animal marking its territory in their home.   My friends have removed all the carpets to make cleaning up this urine and faeces easier.  To segregate these very loving herd animals and confine them to a small area of your  home is cruel.  It may also lead to aggressive behaviour as the capybara will be unhappy.

The secret of living with Capybaras is to be sensitive to their body language and vocalisations, they will tell you what they want.   Being sensitive to their needs is essential to creating the necessary bond that will encourage them to want to do what you want them to do.  And to prevent them becoming unhappy and aggressive.

 

Oh dear, how did that get there

Oh dear, how did that get there

Marvin and Elizabeth are very strict in adhering to an optimum diet that most closely approximates what a capybara would eat in the wild. This is essential for capybara health and for their teeth.   The capybara digestive system evolved over 30 million years to take advantage of a diet that was high in fibre and low in nutritional content.  (See my blog:  ” What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?”

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-capybara/

Romeo and Tuff’n eat grass, hay and guinea pig feed. The hay and Guinea pig feed are available 24/7.   There are two bales of an Orchard Hay and  Timothy Hay mix in the living room. Whenever the capybaras want to chew on something, or they feel hungry, they go to the hay (or guinea pig feed). This means they do not chew pillowcases, plastic, comforters or any other inappropriate items of furniture.

 

    Romeo Never Chews Pillowcases or Plastic, if he wants Something to Chew on he goes to his Bale of Hay in the Living Room

Romeo Never Chews Pillowcases or Plastic, if he wants Something to Chew on he goes to his Bale of Hay in the Living Room

Romeo and Tuff’n are never fed junk food, candy or table scraps. Romeo can sit on Marvin’s lap at the dinner table and he will show no interest whatsoever in the food Marvin is eating. If just once Elizabeth or Marvin had given him a treat from their dinner table he would constantly expect this to happen again.

It is worth noting just how sensitive capybaras are to any change in their routine, or any stress. Their faeces become softer.  And their mood changes.

As is the case with the very best animal trainers, Marvin does not use food as a reward. Voice is a much more effective reward and Romeo positively fills with pride when Marvin says “Good Boy Romeo”. It may be easier to get an animal to perform a certain act or trick if it is given food as a reward. Unfortunately, the end result is usually that the capybara will only perform or comply with your request, if there is a food treat as a reward. Romeo knows what Marvin’s expectations are and he sometimes chooses to behave himself.   Marvin’s approval is very important to him.   He is an exceptionally good and well behaved capybara. Another thing I like is that Marvin doesn’t ask Romeo to do senseless tricks just for the sake of it. There are plenty of useful things for Romeo to learn without turning him into a circus act.

Yasushi Yawns Magnificently やすしは見事あくび

Capybara have Big, Razor Sharp Teeth and Very Powerful Jaws Yasushi Yawns Magnificently やすしは見事あくび

I mention only Romeo as Tuff’n automatically learns from Romeo what behaviour is expected and appropriate, and therefore seldom needs any lessons from Marvin. There were a couple of occasions when Tuff’n wet the bed. These occurred after a long and very tiring day, and perhaps Tuff’n felt too tired to make the effort to go to the “potty room”. On the third occasion Marvin picked Tuff’n up, put him on the damp spot, gently pushing his nose down, and said very firmly “No”. He then picked Tuff’n up and carried him to the potty pan. Romeo also gave him a little ‘nose to nose ‘ talk, rubbing noses with him.  Tuff’n never wet the bed again.

Capybaras are capable of learning a surprising number of words. In addition to food related words Romeo knows “inside” and “outside” and “in the house”.  He knows the words “tell me a secret” and “give me a kiss”. And many other words and phrases as well!

Romeo and Tuff'n have each other for company. Capybara who is bonded with a human will suffer a great deal of stress, trying to understand human behaviour. Every time the human leaves the home the capybara will experience extreme separation anxiety. Nobody who loves animals would want to put an animal through that

Romeo and Tuff’n have each other for emotional support and company. A Capybara who is bonded with a human will suffer a great deal of stress, trying to understand human behaviour. Every time the human leaves the home the capybara will experience extreme separation anxiety. Nobody who loves animals would want to put an animal through that

In this video,    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaARdqXKTdM  

Marvin is playing with Romeo, giving him an outlet for the sparring and play fighting that young capybaras enjoy in the wild. Romeo loves it and it allows him to release any pent-up energy and adrenaline. Romeo knows that ‘Inside’ and ‘In  the house’  mean this is designated as Marvin’s territory, where he is the boss Capybara, and where Romeo does not spar.   Outside Romeo can play the boss. Marvin always lets Romeo win the sparring contests outside so that Romeo feels that he is a successful and important male capybara. At 2.07 secs you can hear Romeo clicking his teeth. Capybaras do this as a warning signal. The intention is to avoid a fight by persuading your opponent to abandon his attack and run off.   In the wild relatively few fights break out; the dominant male capybara who is number one in the herd hierarchy will warn the subordinate male, who almost always runs away.

Romeo Play Fighting with Marvin.

Romeo Play Fighting with Marvin.

Capybaras are highly intelligent and emotionally very sophisticated and complex. Very few people have the understanding, sensitivity and intelligence to keep them as house pets in a happy, fulfilled and stress free state.

Having two capybaras who are bonded with each other rather than with a human would be much better, as a fellow capybara can supply all the emotional needs that most humans would be unable to meet. However there can sometimes be problems with this due to the hierarchal nature of capybara society. It is difficult to keep two male capybaras as their inclination would be to compete for dominance, i.e. fight. These male capybaras would have to be neutered and you would have to be seen as the dominant male in the herd in order to control their behaviour.

Even with two females there can be dominance problems leading to injuries. One of my friends has two female capybaras who live in a field. The dominant female is often aggressive towards “her friend” and on one occasion inflicted such a severe injury that the exotic vet had to attend to the wound. Several trips to the vet followed which do not come cheap.

Now that Tuff’n is bigger than Romeo he often challenges Romeo leading to frequent minor injuries. Initially Romeo would walk away and tried to avoid getting into a fight, knowing that Marvin did not want him to bite Tuff’n. Eventually he realised he had to defend himself but Tuff’n’s playful aggression puts Romeo under a lot of stress and may be one of the reasons Romeo becomes aggressive to those humans who are part of his herd.

 

Capybaras love to Roll in the Mud. They then often twander surreptitiously inside the house; of course the mud comes in with them and paints a pretty scene around the house!

Capybaras love to Roll in the Mud. They then often wander surreptitiously inside the house; of course the mud comes in with them and paints a pretty scene around the house!

Romeo can be emotional and moody. For the first four months of his life he was an only capybara, the centre of attention and the joy of everyone’s life. Then out of the blue came this cute little injured baby capybara, and suddenly Romeo was no longer the centre of attention and had to share Marvin and Elizabeth’s love with Tuff’n, the new arrival. His first instinct was to kill little Tuff’n, but over time he came to tolerate him.

When I first met Romeo and Tuff’n, it was obvious that Romeo knew he was expected to behave in a friendly manner towards Tuff’n and not be aggressive to him. Romeo seemed to tolerate Tuff’n rather than to like him. There was one amusing scenario out by the pool, where Romeo was sitting in a tub of hot water. Tuff’n seeing Romeo, jumped in the tub to be beside him. Romeo moved to the far side of the tub to get away from Tuff’n.   Tuff’n moved over to be next to Romeo, and Romeo jumped out of the tub!

You can see this behaviour in this video:

 

 

Maple Eating her Cecotropes. For more information about capybaras eating their cecotropes please see my blog "What should I feed my pet capybara?"

Maple Eating her Cecotropes. For more information about capybaras eating their cecotropes please see my blog “What should I feed my pet capybara?”

Early on in their relationship, Tuff’n realised he had far more in common with Romeo than with the two humans. In fact when Tuff’n arrived Elizabeth and Marvin heard vocalisations from Romeo that they had never heard before; Romeo and Tuff’n were speaking their own language, even though neither had spent any time with adult capybaras from whom they could have learnt it. Tuff’n started to follow Romeo everywhere, and of course he learnt from Romeo everything Romeo had been taught by Marvin.  Tuff’n shows separation anxiety if he cannot see Romeo, or if they are too far apart.  At least Romeo is always nearby.   Romeo, however, is bonded with humans and his life is much more stressful.

On one occasion Tuff’n came to sit with me on the beanbag for his afternoon nap. When he realised that Romeo was not going to join us, and indeed that he had no idea where Romeo was, he started to panic. He ran as fast as his little legs would carry him in the direction of the bedroom at the far end of the house. As he jumped on the trunk to reach the bed he noticed a lump under the bed covers on the bed, and his relief was palpable as he smelt Romeo’s odour coming from the lump. He then nestled down next to the lump as close as he possibly could (he doesn’t like going under the covers).   You may notice that the “lump” moves very slightly away each time little Tuff’n snuggles up to him in this video:

 

 

 

Romeo in Marvin's arms. Romeo is in the truck as Marvin would never leave him alone in the house if he, Marvin, has to go out

Romeo in Marvin’s arms in the truck.

 

Capybaras have very sharp teeth and nip each other constantly when playing. As capybaras have very thick skin this does not cause any harm, but to a human it would result in constant injury (not serious but painful). Capybaras also occasionally bite each other either in play or when being aggressive. Not many humans could cope with this. Marvin has experience of handling dogs, and he is a tall strong male, so he can cope with and channel Romeo’s natural aggression.   He also has a dog sleeve for added protection during sparring matches with Romeo. I believe it is very important to allow an animal to fulfil its natural instincts, and I don’t believe many people keeping capybaras as a pet can do this. More often, in most homes, the capybara will be denied this natural physical and emotional release, and in some capybaras this might lead to stress, or vengeful behaviour.

It is essential to have an exotic veterinarian and one with capybara experience. If you do not have access to an appropriate exotic vet, are you willing to accept that the animal you love, may very likely die sooner than it should?

 

This photo was taken on 13th October 2012, the day her twins were born and 5 days before she died. She doesn’t look at all well. It makes me cry to see her like this (Bio Park Photo) 2012年10月13日、この写真で撮影。この日は彼女の双子が生まれた。彼女が亡くなった5日前まで。彼女は非常に病気に見えます。涙。 (写真バイオパーク)

This photo was taken on 13th October 2012, the day her twins were born and 5 days before she died. She doesn’t look at all well. It makes me cry to see her like this. I still miss her. (Bio Park Photo) 2012年10月13日、この写真で撮影。この日は彼女の双子が生まれた。彼女が亡くなった5日前まで。彼女は非常に病気に見えます。涙。 (写真バイオパーク)

 

One friend who has two capybaras who live outside in a hot climate, wrote this: “My husband does not think that capybaras make good exotic pets for beginners. People need to know that capybaras are a lifestyle, and not an accessory to their lifestyle. As you said, the owner needs to be sensitive to the animal’s needs.   Is the person willing to provide the amount of time that is needed to spend with a capybara, willingly?”

She continues: “My husband thinks that too many people are drawn in by the cute factor and aren’t prepared for the work.  There are a wide variety of things that contribute to happy, healthy capybaras and it is hard for busy people to provide them, especially people who have little or no experience with exotics. It’s pretty obvious that most ordinary pet owners don’t want to mentally make accommodations that their beloved furbaby isn’t human. They think that if they give the animal the things that the human desires, then the animal will be grateful and behave in a human fashion. When a dog bites, there is some shock that it would do such a thing.   So, then you take that mentality and bring an exotic animal into the scenario. An animal that doesn’t have hundreds of generations trying to please or get along with humans. Capybaras have significant needs too. If the human-animal partnership fails, it will definitely be the capybara that suffers. There is a bit of resentment from professional animals keepers, towards exotic pet owners, because of this unrealistic attitude that many pet owners have. Bad husbandry or bad expectations, lead to injuries or death and public backlash. I don’t know who said it first, but the saying goes that many people falsely believe that not treating animals like humans, is itself inhumane. Just as I wouldn’t expect humans to want to live like a squid, I think it’s unrealistic to assume that a different species will think we do things best.”

You Must also Provide a LargePpool for the Capybara to Swim In

You Must also Provide a Large Pool for the Capybara to Swim In

She continues:  “Exotic pet owners have to accommodate to the lifestyle of the animal. As I see it, the big key with general animal ownership – and this would hold true for domestics or exotics – is sensitivity/attentiveness to their subtle body language. With professionals this is usually easier, because a professional animal keeper will spend all day long with the animals – it’s their job. The professional will  pick up on little noises or postures which might indicate that the animal is stressed or needs something. Sadly, in my country at least (USA), many people are more self involved. They are also occupied by lots of distractions. Paying close attention to what their animal is saying, or thinking, or trying to convey may well be beyond the capability of most people.( I certainly believe it is.) Your average person will jump to the first assumption regarding its capybara pets needs and not have the intelligence, sensitivity or depth of understanding to go beyond this.”

It takes a great deal of time and commitment to ensure the happiness of a pet capybara.

How many people are prepared to put the happiness of their pet capybara before their own happiness? This means ensuring that there is always somebody at home to keep an eye on the capybara and make sure it doesn’t get into difficulties. One of the major causes of death with pet capybaras comes from dangers encountered in the house or yard/garden, such as unsecured equipment, furniture etc.  Just as important is being there in the home to provide emotional support for your pet capybara. As I have said before a capybara in the wild would never be alone. You only have to hear the plaintive calls of a capybara suffering separation anxiety to never want your capybara to experience that.

 

I haven’t even mentioned:

1)  Exotic vet bills which can run into thousands of dollars.  Having a capybara neutered by an experienced exotic vet will cost at least $600. Other bills may be far higher if the capybara becomes ill.

2)  Emptying the potty pan many times a day; at least 10-12.

3)  Capybara are semi aquatic.  This means you must provide them with somewhere to swim.  Capybaras are so graceful and playful in a pool or large pond;  would you want to deny them this pleasure?   In the wild they would spend much of the day submerged in water.   See my blog:  “Pet Capybara Pool Size. What Size Pool Does My Capybara Need?”:


https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/pet-capybara-pool-size-what-size-pool-does-my-capybara-need/

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4)  I personally don’t think it’s fair to keep a capybara in a cold climate. Their native habitat is semi tropical. You only have to see how much livelier Romeo is when the temperature reaches 65°F, to appreciate the effect of a warmer temperature on a capybara. A surprising and unacceptable number of capybaras have suffered frostbite.

Are you prepared to give up social engagements, and never travel away from home to ensure the happiness of your pet? I think there are very few people who could make this commitment.

Please also see our blogs:

Pet Capybara FAQs. The Questions People Always Ask:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/pet-capybara-faqs-the-questions-people-always-ask/

Capybara Facts and Information.  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Capybaras: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/capybara-facts-and-information-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ae%e4%ba%8b%e5%ae%9f%e3%81%a8%e6%83%85%e5%a0%b1/

A Day in the Life of a Pet Capybara: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-pet-capybara-%e3%83%9a%e3%83%83%e3%83%88%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ae%e5%af%bf%e5%91%bd%e3%83%87%e3%82%a4/

The Sounds Capybaras Make. Capybara’s Vocalisations, Calls and Barks: Information about the sounds capybaras make and links to videos where you can hear all the wonderful sounds and vocalisations which capybaras make:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/the-sounds-capybaras-make-capybaras-vocalisations-calls-and-barks-%e3%82%b5%e3%82%a6%e3%83%b3%e3%83%89%e3%81%af%e3%80%81%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%83%a1%e3%82%a4%e3%82%af%e3%80%82/

This is the sound a capybara makes when he or she barks. Capybaras bark when they want to protest. This bark has a number of different meanings. It can be a warning, either of danger or that the capybara who is barking is not happy about something. In the wild a male capybara will bark to warn another male capybara to keep off its territory. In the wild capybaras will also bark when they perceive danger. This might be a predator such as a Jaguar or caiman. They will also bark at other capybaras in the herd if they are upset, frustrated or annoyed with that capybara. Momiji would bark in frustration at her baby Aoba’s frequent demands for milk, Aoba was an exceptionally greedy baby capybara and Momiji is an excellent mother so she always acceded to Aoba’s demands, unlike Maple who often refused milk to her babies, Cookie and Butter. The bark is also used as an alert call, for example at Nagasaki Bio Park Donguri, the number one capybara in the hierarchy, may bark when she hears that breakfast is about to be served. On one occasion when a serious fight broke out between the two babies, Aoba and Cookie, Donguri jumped up and barked before rushing over to intervene and break up the fight. When capybaras are fighting over the food troughs there may be barks of protest and warning. In the wild the main role for the subordinate male capybaras is to act as lookouts, and make warning calls. These subordinate male capybaras stay on the periphery of the herd.

 

 

Having a capybara come over to you and sit affectionately in your lap is the most wonderful experience. Many of the capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park will sit on the laps of visitors these days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdNE6omkqvM

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Adorable Young Capybaras, Io, Yuzu, Zabon and Nina, at Nagasaki Bio Park. 愛らしい若いカピバラ, イオ、ゆず、Zabonとニーナ、長崎バイオパークで。

Zabon on my lap with Maple trying to steal a bite of the carrot.  私のラップでザボン。メープルは、ニンジンを盗もうとします

Zabon on my lap with Maple trying to steal a bite of the carrot. 私のラップでザボン。メープルは、ニンジンを盗もうとします

 

Yusu, Zabon, Baby Io (background right) and Nina, the 'Babies' at Nagasaki Bio Park. All Sleeping Happily Together Yusu、Zabon、イオ(背景右)とニナ。長崎バイオパークで'赤ちゃん'。幸いオール·トゥゲザー·スリーピング

Yusu, Zabon, Baby Io (background right) and Nina, the ‘Babies’ at Nagasaki Bio Park. All Sleeping Happily Together Yusu、Zabon、イオ(背景右)とニナ。長崎バイオパークで’赤ちゃん’。幸いオール·トゥゲザー·スリーピング

Io

Io, Donguri's son. Photo by Nagasaki Bio Park

Io, Donguri’s son. Photo by Nagasaki Bio Park

Little baby Io was the youngest capybara at the Bio Park in August 2012; he was 5 months old but looked even younger. He was  a small capybara.  Even though he was only a month younger than Nina, he was half Nina’s size.

Little baby Io likes to sleep on top of the other capybaras. He will notice a cluster of capybaras napping and scramble on top of them waking them all up in the process. Then he flops down in the crevice between two capybara bodies. Some of the female capybaras object to him disturbing them and  move away or gently kick him, but Yasushi, his father and The Boss Capybara, is always very kind and forgiving; when Io’s little foot lands on his face he will wake up startled and then settle back down to sleep.

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Little Baby Io Dreaming リトルベイビーイオドリーミング

Little Baby Io Dreaming リトルベイビーイオドリーミング

There is a special bond between Io and Yasushi.   Yasushi is the Boss Capybara, as the breeding male is called, at the Bio Park, the only male, and the most important capybara in the hierarchy.     Io seems to like being near Yasushi.   He  sleeps right next to him, and often shares his watermelon tray. Yasushi is always very gentle and paternal towards Io, never pushing him away as Io searches out the juiciest, sweetest morsels of watermelon from Yasushi’s tray. Yasushi and Io play together in the pond. Io seems to sense that Yasushi loves having his ear rubbed, so baby Io will chew on his ear sending Yasushi into paroxysms  of bliss. Yasushi then rolls over on his back and sinks under the water, surfacing a few minutes later looking blissful and completely out of it. Eventually Io tires of the game and swims off.

    Little Baby Io chews Yasushi's ear. Yasushi loves it リトルベイビーイオチューズ靖の耳。靖はそれを愛している

Little Baby Io chews Yasushi’s ear. Yasushi loves it リトルベイビーイオチューズ靖の耳。靖はそれを愛している

From time to time five-month-old Io  dreams of his mother’s milk and his days suckling Donguri.   He sets off to find the nearest female nipple.   Often this will be a young female like Ayu who has never given birth and where there is no chance of finding milk.

Io is very self-possessed, independent and confident. No Capybara can intimidate him, not even the late Aki.  She was the powerful and intimidating Number One in the female hierarchy.   She intimidated all the other female capybaras. If Io wants a particular piece of watermelon, or to share the watermelon tray of a dominant female, nothing will put him off, not even the nips and bites he inevitably encounters.

Io playing. I could watch Capybaras playing together for hours. I had no idea how playful they are.     は 遊ぶ。私はカピバラが何時間も一緒に遊んで見るのが大好き。彼らはとても遊び心アール

 

Donguri and her baby son Io on Capuchin Island.   どんぐりと彼女の赤ん坊の息子カプチン島のイオ。

Donguri and her baby son Io on Capuchin Island. どんぐりと彼女の赤ん坊の息子カプチン島のイオ。

When we first started visiting the biopark, Donguri and Io would be alone eating the grass on Capuchin island.   Perhaps Donguri was ensuring that her baby got plenty of nourishing fresh green grass, but I always felt it was in part to keep him away from, and protect him from, the hordes of human visitors.   After Donguri and I became friends, we would find her waiting for us each morning, sitting by the bench where we always sat.   Donguri was a wonderful mother, in the video below you can see her affectionately kissing and nuzzling Io,  who returns the affection, as they play in the pond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FCcbmy9YDA

Mummy and Baby Capybara, Donguri and Io. Io is eating his cecotropes ミイラと赤ちゃんカピバラ。どんぐりとイオ。 Ioは彼のcecotropesを食べている

Mummy and Baby Capybara, Donguri and Io. Io is eating his cecotropes ミイラと赤ちゃんカピバラ。どんぐりとイオ。 Ioは彼のcecotropesを食べている

Little baby Io nuzzles his mother Donguri. They were very affectionate イオ赤ちゃんは母親のどんぐりをnuzzles。彼らは非常に愛情あった

Little baby Io nuzzles his mother Donguri. They were very affectionate イオ赤ちゃんは母親のどんぐりをnuzzles。彼らは非常に愛情あった

When Io gets to be one year old he will have to leave the Bio Park. Male capybaras have a strict dominance hierarchy and fights would break out between the males if there was more than one mature male in the enclosure.

Io will make a wonderful Boss Capybara at another zoo, where some of his offspring will inherit his mother, Donguri’s, outstanding, sweet gentle character.

Io’s father is Yasushi, his mother is Donguri. He was born at Nagasaki Bio Park on 18th of March, 2012

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Yuzu and Zabon

Yuzu and Zabon; these two are so adorable.   They are very vocal and come over when we arrive to be pampered.   They are the youngest capybaras after 'baby' Io who looks about 3 months, but is in fact 5 months old.   They always seem to be hungry. They point their noses up in the cutest way to indicate they want something to eat, and I haven't the heart to delay their request while I take a photo. ゆずとZabon、これらの2つはとても愛らしいです。彼らは非常にボーカルです。我々は、ちやほやされるため、到着に到着した。彼らは常に飢えているように見える。彼らは自分の鼻がかわいいです方法を指す。それらを食べるために何かをしたい。

Yuzu and Zabon; these two are so adorable. They are very vocal and come over, when we arrive, to be pampered. They are the youngest capybaras after ‘baby’ Io who looks about 3 months, but is in fact 5 months old. They always seem to be hungry. They point their noses up in the cutest way to indicate they want something to eat, and I haven’t the heart to delay their request while I take a photo.
ゆずとZabon、これらの2つはとても愛らしいです。彼らは非常にボーカルです。我々は、ちやほやされるため、到着に到着した。彼らは常に飢えているように見える。彼らは自分の鼻がかわいいです方法を指す。それらを食べるために何かをしたい。

Zabon Sleeping!     Zabon   眠れる!

Zabon Sleeping! Zabon 眠れる!

Yuzu and Zabon, Aki’s two daughters, seem to have inherited more of Donguri’s sweet personality than Aki’s more dominant personality, especially Yuzu. Yuzu and Zabon are usually to be found close together often sleeping nose to tail or side by side, each seemingly quite happy to have her nose stuck almost inside the others bottom!    Sometimes Io comes over and climbs on top of them when they are side by side, settling in between them… they never object, sweet capybaras that they are.

Yuzu and Zabon were born on 26 November, 2011

Yuzu and Zabon usually stayed close together. Very often sleeping nose to tail with one capybara nose in the other capybaras bottom ゆずとZabonは通常、近くに一緒に泊まりました。非常に多くの場合テールに鼻を眠っています。他のカピバラの底に1カピバラの鼻

Yuzu and Zabon usually stay close together. Very often sleeping nose to tail with one capybara nose in the other capybaras bottom ゆずとZabonは通常、近くに一緒に泊まりました。非常に多くの場合テールに鼻を眠っています。他のカピバラの底に1カピバラの鼻

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Yuzu and Zabon, sleeping together as usual. They are often very vocal

Yuzu and Zabon, sleeping together as usual. They are often very vocal

Sweet Yuzu...she and her sister Zabon were Aki's daughters from her last litter, along with 2 brothers, Goemon and Cyprus at Trius Zoo, Fukuoka.    ゆず甘い。 Zabon彼女と彼女の妹 - アキの彼女の最後の小さな娘から。加えて、二人の兄弟 - キプロスと五右衛門福岡現在Trius動物園。

Sweet Yuzu…she and her sister Zabon are Aki’s daughters from her last litter, along with 2 brothers, Goemon and Cyprus  ゆず甘い。 Zabon彼女と彼女の妹 – アキの彼女の最後の小さな娘から。加えて、二人の兄弟 – キプロスと五右衛門福岡現在動物園。

 

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Zabon - "This is mine!" Zabon - "これは私のものだ!"

Zabon – “This is mine!” Zabon – “これは私のものだ!”

A few minutes later Yusu rolled over and fell off the feeding tray she was sleeping on. I love the way Capybaras like to sit on or sleep in their food trays 数分後Yusuがロールオーバー。 Yusuは、食品トレイから落ちた。 かわいいので - カピバラは、その食品トレーで寝るのが好き

A few minutes later Yusu rolled over and fell off the feeding tray she was sleeping on. I love the way Capybaras like to sit on or sleep in their food trays 数分後Yusuがロールオーバー。 Yusuは、食品トレイから落ちた。 かわいいので – カピバラは、その食品トレーで寝るのが好き

Sweet, beautiful Yuzu 甘い、美しいゆず

Sweet, beautiful Yuzu 甘い、美しいゆず

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Zabon

Zabon

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Nina

Adorable young Nina,dreaming. 7 months old, and a male capybara. He will stay at the Bio Park until he is about a year old and then go off to become a breeding male at another zoo.    愛らしい若いニーナ。七ヶ月。カピバラ男性。彼が1歳に達するまで、私はバイオパークに滞在。成人男性のカピバラの戦い。 彼らは別の筐体に移動する必要があります。 彼は別の動物園で1日ボスカピバラ意志

Adorable young Nina, dreaming. 7 months old, and a male capybara. He will stay at the Bio Park until he is about a year old and then go off to become a breeding male at another zoo. 愛らしい若いニーナ。七ヶ月。カピバラ男性。彼が1歳に達するまで、私はバイオパークに滞在。成人男性のカピバラの戦い。 彼らは別の筐体に移動する必要があります。 彼は別の動物園で1日ボスカピバラ意志

Adorable young Nina, 7 months old, and a male capybara. He will stay at the Bio Park until he is about a year old and then go off to become a breeding male at another zoo.    愛らしい若いニーナ。七ヶ月。カピバラ男性。彼が1歳に達するまで、私はバイオパークに滞在。成人男性のカピバラの戦い。 彼らは別の筐体に移動する必要があります。 彼は別の動物園で1日ボスカピバラ意志

 Nina

Nina is a much more pugnacious personality as the various cuts and scars he acquires testify.    He is always hungry, always demanding food in the nicest possible way, but always extremely determined.    On one occasion when there was nobody around to buy food pellets for him, he sat looking intently at the food dispenser dreaming of those nice round containers full of delicious pellets. He hatched a plan to attack the dispenser as you can see in the video below.  Unfortunately for him he had no success;  those nasty humans have made the dispenser capybara proof…how thoughtless of them.   Although Nina is only one month and 11 days older than Io he is more than twice Io’s size.    Definitely a dominant male in the making.

Just before we left Japan at the end of August, Nina injured his eye quite seriously, scratching the cornea during a round of play fighting.    He had to be removed from the enclosure for medical treatment and it was decided that, with his boisterous nature, it would not be a good idea to put him back with the herd after his long absence.    He is still at Nagasaki Bio Park and makes starring appearances at the flower dome with Io for company. Everyone adores them

Nina’s father is Yasushi and his mother is Momiji. He was born on 7 February, 2012

Nina dreaming of the little round food containers full of delicious pellets, but since nobody seems to be feeding him he is hatching a plot to attack the food dispenser

Nina dreaming of the little round food containers full of delicious pellets, but since nobody seems to be feeding him he is hatching a plot to attack the food dispenser

As he does in this video

http://youtu.be/nMBzsKU3BH0

Young Nina at Play. プレーで若いニーナ

 

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What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?

Marvin and Elizabeth asked me to write this blog. They felt that when their first capybara came to live with them the information they needed was not available on the Internet.

Please Don’t Let Any More Capybaras Die Prematurely.

Templeton, The Brightest of Stars, who should still be with us today

Templeton, The Brightest of Stars, who should still be with us today

 

Templeton, The Brightest of Stars, two weeks before he passed away In the wild baby Capybaras stand look out on their Mother while she sleeps.

Templeton, two weeks before he passed away
In the wild baby Capybaras stand look out on their Mother while she sleeps.

What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?

This blog is written in memory of Templeton, a young capybara, the brightest of stars, who died far too prematurely when he was only four months old. Marvin and Elizabeth believe that his diet caused his death. They did not feed him junk food, but they did feed him a lot of corn and carrots which his young digestive system could not cope with

Put simply:  DO NOT FEED YOUR CAPYBARA ANYTHING WITH ADDED SUGAR AND ABSOLUTELY NO CANDY or  JUNK FOOD, or  SWEET FRUIT or Bird Seed.

Rodents are addicted to sugar and sweet foods. Another reason I would never introduce anything sweet into a capybara diet as this can lead to the capybara becoming curious about other foods which he/she had never shown any interest in before.

Templeton, So Full of Life and Oh So Cute. Here he is with Yellow Cat

Templeton, So Full of Life and Oh So Cute. Here he is with Yellow Cat

The capybara digestive system evolved over 30 million years to take advantage of a diet that was high in fibre and low in nutritional content. If you want your capybara to live a long and healthy life you should try to replicate this diet as closely as possible.

Sugar and Stress are two of the most potentially life-threatening causal factors a pet capybara can encounter. Capybaras should not be given anything with sugar in it like candy, ice cream, sweetened yoghurt, ice lollies etc. Neither should they be given junk food; this seems like common sense but it is surprising how many people, out of ignorance, will feed their pets whatever junk food they are eating. In addition, Exotic Animal Vets warn about the potential harm in feeding the naturally occuring ‘sugar’ in sweet vegetables and fruit, specifically mentioning sweetcorn because of the high sugar content, so you can imagine how disastrous any food with added sugar would be.

Templeton, So Friendly and Adorable

Templeton, So Friendly and Adorable

Animals do not have the same tolerance for unnatural feed that humans have. This is especially true in the case of a capybara, where its digestive system is exceptionally sensitive, and has been described by at least one expert as the ‘weak link’ in terms of capybara health. I know of at least two capybaras who died very prematurely, in one case after only a few months, because of diet.

The healthiest pet capybaras that I have met are fed a diet of fresh untreated grass, hay (Orchard Hay and Timothy Hay which are not too high quality), aquatic reeds and guinea pig feed.

The olive shaped, green, separated droppings  are a sign of a healthy capybara in the wild.  Softer, sausage shaped faeces are an indication that the capybara is being fed the wrong diet. Fruit, carrots, sweet corn etc may be responsible.

Please also see this blog for information about plants, chemicals and other potentially lethal dangers that capybaras may encounter:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/capybaras-beware-of-toxic-plants-chemicals-and-poisonous-animals-like-scorpions-and-snakes-humans-remove-these-from-your-land-garden-and-yard-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ab/

Romeo Never Chews Pillowcases or Plastic, if he wants something to chew on he goes to his Bale of Hay in the living room

Romeo Never Chews Pillowcases or Plastic, if he wants something to chew on he goes to his Bale of Hay in the living room

HEALTHY TEETH:  To avoid your pet capybara ending up with very painful, life threatening (not to mention expensive) teeth problems, it is essential to include a lot of coarse grazing in a capybara diet.  Unlimited Fresh grass should be a staple part of every capybara diet.   Lower quality hay is more suitable for a capybara’s digestive system and means they will eat more, which equates to more fiber and more tooth wear. The coarseness of the hay keeps their teeth ground down and healthy. This need to keep their teeth healthy should never, ever be underestimated. It is very important for capybara teeth to be kept in check, as they would be in the wild grazing on coarse grasses. I have seen capybaras chewing on twigs and stones as a method of self-help dentistry. Capybaras may grind their teeth when they sleep, which also helps keep their teeth in check.

Tuff'n Asleep on his Bale of Hay

Tuff’n Asleep on his Bale of Hay

The Hay and Guinea pig feed should be available 24/7. In the case of Romeo and Tuff’n, there is a large bale of Orchard/Timothy Hay mix in the living room. Whenever the capybaras want to chew on something, or they feel hungry, they go to the hay (or guinea pig feed). This means they do not chew pillowcases, plastic, comforters or any other inappropriate items of furniture.

Romeo and Tuff'n Feasting on their Bale of Hay

Romeo and Tuff’n Feasting on their Bale of Hay

Marvin and Elizabeth believe a product called ‘Bene-bac’ (which is a pro-biotic) is a lifesaver, and could have saved the life of Templeton, their first capybara.  They use it whenever the poohs become softer and sausage shaped. Bene-Bac Small Animal Powder is a concentrated live culture of four common digestive bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. Bene-Bac is recommended any time an animal experiences stress from changing nutritional or environmental conditions. Contains 20 million CFU per gram of viable lactic acid producing bacteria. Powder formula is easy to mix with water.   It comes in 4 different types – the Benebac designed for rabbits is the correct one to use.

Constipation: Benebac can also be used to treat constipation. It is important to ensure your capybara drink enough water and has access to fresh water to drink 24 hours a day. A healthy diet of unrestricted access to fresh grass should ensure a capybara does not become constipated. You should always consult your vet as soon as you become concerned.

The best animal trainers do not use food as a reward. Capybaras are highly intelligent. In the opinion of many capybara owners they are at least as intelligent as the most intelligent dogs. They are also highly sophisticated emotionally. They respond very well to praise, and are very sensitive to the tone of voice, with a surprisingly large vocabulary. If you say to Romeo “Good Boy, Romeo”, he swells up with pride. This is far more rewarding to him than a sweet toxic food treat.

A new study suggests that most dogs respond more positively to praise than to food.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/dogs-would-rather-get-belly-rub-treat?utm_source=newsfromscience&utm_medium=facebook-text&utm_campaign=wantatreat-6517

Romeo sleeping

Romeo sleeping

The danger with giving them inappropriate food treats is that they will soon only do what you want in return for a treat. If it is a high energy treat they will no longer eat the copious amounts of grass and hay that they need to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Capybaras are highly emotional animals and do not react well to stress, which can lead to digestive problems. In the wild capybaras have the support of, and close proximity to the herd, for their emotional well-being. As house pets they suffer from separation anxiety to a very high degree if the human with whom they have bonded is not with them. This probably reflects 30 million years of evolution wherein a lone capybara, abandoned by the herd or separated from it, would have little chance of survival.   If you are going to live with a pet capybara it would be kinder to let the capybara bond with another animal who will remain at home all day with the capybara, rather than have him/her bond with you and suffer everytime you have to go out (to work, shopping etc).  A border collie might be the ideal companion.

 

Romeo, Tuff'n and Elizabeth: a Happy Family Portrait

Romeo, Tuff’n and Elizabeth: a Happy Family Portrait

This is the information Kapi’yva Exotics, a leading breeder of exotic animals, provides for capybara diet on its website:

“Capybaras are true herbivores, their diet in the wild consists almost exclusively of various grasses. In captivity, their diet should consist primarily of guinea pig or livestock feed and plenty of fresh grass or hay. Capybaras do not naturally produce adequate amounts of vitamin C and they can develop scurvy as a result of vitamin C deficiencies. In the wild the large amounts of fresh grass they consume provides the extra vitamin C they need. In captivity, their diet must contain either plenty of fresh grass for grazing or a vitamin C supplement. Most commercial guinea pig diets will contain a vitamin C supplement but these can be very costly if you are feeding multiple adult capybaras. Mazuri and LabDiet guinea pig formulas are available in 25lb and 50lb bags and can be found at, or specially ordered at most feed stores. A much cheaper alternative is livestock or rabbit feed. If used as a staple diet extra vitamin C should be added. The easiest method I’ve found of doing this is to dust or mix their feed with ascorbic acid powder.

I DO NOT recommend feeding fruits, vegetables or other items containing large amounts of sugar on a daily basis. There is some evidence that diets containing large amounts of sugar, even from healthy sources, can cause liver and heart problems.

They have evolved as grazers, feeding primarily grass/hay and guinea pig feed is the best way to mimic their natural diet.”

Some people give horse feed instead of guinea pig pellets primarily for reasons of cost. It is important to read the ingredients of any formula feed as this will dictate your choice.   As horses are considered more valuable than cattle, horse feed is likely to be made of more high-quality ingredients.”

Romeo and Tuff'n love fresh grass. They have absolutely no desire for junk food

Romeo and Tuff’n love fresh grass. They have absolutely no desire for junk food

Below I include some information on what not to feed and why. The information comes from exotic pet vets and experienced capybara owners who have done a great deal of research.

Grazing on Unknown Grass: One capybara owner wrote: “We are very cautious about feeding unknown grass. Our rule of thumb, is that if it’s long and neglected, we’ll try it. If it looks too well taken care of, we fear poisons and leave it. It is more likely that fertilisers and weedkillers will be applied to well cared for grass. You also have to always check grass for toxic weeds. We have nightshade in this area. I don’t even know if they would actually eat it, but I’m very cautious.  Water effects fertilizers, but that would not be my main concern. I worry about insecticides and herbicides, which are usually designed to have residual effects that erode over time, not by water.”

Alfalfa:  An exotic pet vet at a leading university veterinary school is quoted as saying ” Absolutely no alfalfa, it is too rich.”  It may also be too high in calcium.

Calcium:  “There may be a concern about too much calcium for rodents and animals who extract extra nutrients through hindgut fermentation, this includes capybaras. There may be a risk of bladder stones or grit from excess calcium. Here’s a hay chart on calcium levels: http://www.guinealynx.info/hay_calcium.html “.

Vegetables:  The Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park, some of whom lived to a ripe old age (at least 13 years) were fed vegetables in season. When I was there it was cabbage, carrots and pumpkin. The capybaras at the Bio Park who eat the most carrots do not produce healthy olive shaped faeces. The faeces is soft, barely even sausage shaped.   One capybara owner had this to say about carrots: “I have read online that the sugar level in carrots is on a par with apples and that because of the fat soluble vitamin A, if fed too much (or in a combination with other sources like alfalfa) the vitamin A can build up to toxic levels. She feeds one carrot a day.”

Sweetcorn: every Exotic Pet Vet with experience of capybaras was unanimous in saying you should not feed sweetcorn to capybaras. It is far too sweet.

I would remove all seeds and berries from my garden/yard as soon as they fall from trees.

Below is some information taken from research done on capybaras in the wild in South America:

This excellent book, see link below, is a collection of research papers on capybara, unfortunately finance for research comes from the agricultural industry so that is the primary focus of the research, but there is still a lot of very useful information:

http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/ecology/book/978-1-4614-3999-8

The capybara, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, is a herbivorous semi aquatic mammal that grazes near water. A number of physiological and morphological adaptations of the capybaras digestive system allowed this species to meet its energy requirements from a diet with a high fibre and low nutritional content and silica deposits.

These highly fibrous diet components are extremely difficult to digest, therefore herbivores possess specific adaptations for the digestion of these materials. The best known and most common adaptation to a high fibre diet among mammals is fermentation by symbionts (by bacteria and fungi and protozoa), coupled with mechanisms for the digestion and absorption of the products of fermentation. Among mammals there are two distinct types of symbiotic digestion where fermentation occurs. 1) foregut fermentation, as found in cows, and 2) hindgut fermentation as found in rodents.

Hindgut fermenters use the cecum, located between the small and large intestines, as a fermentation chamber, which precludes regurgitation and re-swallowing the fermented plants as a strategy for the absorption of nutrients. In the case of the capybara the process of cecotrophy allows a daily cycle of feeding and reingestion: food goes once along the digestive tract, entering the cecum where it is fermented and then excreted. These excreted products are taken directly from the anus by the herbivore and they pass one more time through the entire digestive tract.  The waste products bypass the cecum and move onto the large intestine, where hard dry faeces are excreted (but not reabsorbed this time). The two processes occur within a 24 hour cycle. It has been argued that, since hindgut fermenters can take advantage of any available directly digestible (i.e. non-fibre) nutrients before the bacterial fermentation takes place, they are more efficient at extracting nutrients from food than foregut fermenters stop

The capybara diet, in the wild, consists mainly of grasses with varying a portion of sedges and just a few other plants

During the wet season when plants are more abundant, capybaras are more selective and spend more time grazing on Hymenachne amplexicaulis, an aquatic grass of high caloric and low fibre content, then on less palatable reeds.

Capybaras are considered predominately diurnal, however groups have been observed grazing during the night.

In the tropics, capybaras spend 31% of their time grazing during the wet season, and 42% in the dry season.

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