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.

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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.

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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. I have just heard about a young capybara who lived inside the home in an enclosure and did not get enough, if any, Sun. His bones are in a poor condition and his vet believes he should be put down so that he won’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.   Elizabeth and Marvin 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 loves and respects Marvin;   because of this he somtimes 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

Elizabeth and Marvin have developed a number of games that allow Romeo to act out the patterns of play that he would enjoy in the wild. I believe this may be  essential for his emotional well-being and happiness.

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 does not come cheap.

Romeo has only accepted Tuff’n because of the very strong relationship Elizabeth and Marvin have developed with him.   His instincts were to kill baby Tuff’n but he knew Marvin did not want him to do this! He knows that Marvin is the Alpha Male and that kept Romeo’s more aggressive instincts towards Tuff’n under control in the early days.

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

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.

 

No Human Being has the Right to Make an Animal Suffer

No Human Being has the Right to Make an Animal Suffer

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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23 thoughts on “A Pet Capybara: Should I Have One?

    • Thanks very much, I really appreciate it. We are still in Las Vegas, for two more weeks. I have the most fabulous job as a capybara pet sitter; absolutely the dream job. Give BB’s love to the Bassett boys!

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  1. Liz, I am so disappointed. I loved reading EVERY word of your well written blog, but could not get the video to play more than 2 or 3 seconds without stopping. An object would appear, a white, sort of segmented (for lack of a better word) thing would whirl around in the center of the blackened video. It appears to me as though the video was pausing, and “thinking” about whether or not to continue playing. I tried playing the same video on two separate iPhones (a 3GS & my new iPhone 5) as well as my iPad 2. All three devices had the same result. The video would play for a couple of seconds, then stop. If I waited a bit, then tapped an icon at the lower left of the screen, sometimes—sometimes not—-it would commence playing for another few seconds then quit again. After 15 minutes of this stop and go play, I finally gave up in desparation and never did get to see Romeo play fight with Marvin, or anything else for that matter. Do either you or Marc have any suggestions? This looks to be such an excellent, informative video, I’d hate not being able to see the last 6:00. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Have others made this same observation or am I the only one? Best regards, Bonnie

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    • Dear Bonnie
      Thank you so much for all your support.
      What you describe usually is indicative of a not very strong Internet signal. I’m sending the link again. I made the video in 1080p which takes much longer to download because it’s very high-quality. if you were downloading in 480p (what Melanie uses!) It should download more easily

      let me know if you’re still having problems
      very best wishes, Liz

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  2. Thank you for this educational and most enlightening blog. I belive your message is very clear: that capybaras require tremendous amounts of time and knowledge (especially on the important components of a healthy diet), and a great amount of human/capy togetherness “bonding” time. These elements are essential to maintain a happy, healthy, well balanced capybara and give the human owner(s) a sense of pleasure that they are doing the best they can to ensure this exotic breed of animal receives the best treatment possible. After reading your blogs as well as others, I have learned that Capybaras, despite their natural cuteness and interesting habits, are not casual “play things” or “adorable animals” for humans to dress up, then show off a few tricks they’ve taught their capy using various methods, some quite questionable, as sources of encouragement. Where then, lies the answer? One the one hand, there are well known, popular Capybara owners who undoubtedly love their animals very much and who see no harm in teaching their animals a few cute tricks using various treats as a reward, or dressing them up in unusual costumes and taking them out in public where adoring fans can kiss the capybara? What say does the capybara have in of all this? Sadly, none whatsoever. Is there any substantative evidence the animal is unhappy, stressed out, unwell or suffering from cruel treatment? I would like to hear an informed, well balanced disscussion wherein many current capybara owners come together to help educate the growing number of individuals who are seriously considering owning a capybara as a pet. These prospective owners must have the correct, accurate information, to ensure that this most lovable, charismatic, high-maintenance, not-only-a-pet-but-a-family-member has the most optimal condititions in which not only to survive but to thrive for a long, happy life. Thank you.

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    • Bonnie, thank you very much for your deeply thought out and well constructed comments. I would love to have a debate with well informed people who knew about and cared about capybaras, And who were also animal lovers. Unfortunately being famous for owning a capybara doesn’t make you an authority on the subject or an animal lover.

      Thank you very much again I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your comments and you are absolutely right.

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      • I agree that a well informed, respectful debate on capybara ownership would be quite helpful to anyone considering purchasing one. I learned long ago that purchasing a pair of ice skates does not make one an ice skater.

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  3. Pingback: Pet Capybara FAQs. The Questions People Always Ask. | capybaraworld

  4. Great post! I had no idea how much work goes into caring for these amazing creatures. Those two are lucky to have such great owners! Such beautiful creatures that look really fun. I wish I knew someone who owned one, as I’d love to experience one of these in real life and am decades away from a life that would allow us to have one. Keep up the good work!

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    • Thank you very much. I really appreciate your comments. And I am really pleased that you love these enchanting animals. They are beautiful creatures. Quite a few petting zoos have capybaras although the ones I know in Arizona and Nevada the capybaras prefer their animal friends to humans – probably showing great insight! So they tend not to come close to the human visitors.

      If you can go to Japan, Nagasaki Bio Park has a capybara enclosure with about 12 capybaras who are really friendly and you can spend all day with them, petting them and feeding them. I’ve written a blog about Nagasaki Bio Park and another one about how to get there.

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  5. Not gonna lie, I’m so glad I read this. I had a guinea pig and a dog, and when I saw the capybara I though: OOO! BEST OF BOTH FLUFFY WORLDS! But then I thought…it’s selfish of me to just want an animal for it’s fluffy cute exterior. It’s not an object. I started to think back more and more as I read, and now I know: I’m not a suitable owner for a capybara. HOWEVER, if I see one, upon owner permission and respectable approach, I am SO petting him/her or maybe even snuggling. THEY ARE JUST ADORABLE!

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    • I wish everyone who fell in love with capybaras was as thoughtful and wise as you. And thank you very much for taking the trouble to comment. There are quite a few petting zoos in America where you can pet capybaras, including Arizona Down Under in Queen Creek just south-west of Phoenix, and if you are ever in Henderson, Nevada, Romeo and Tuff’n visit one of the local parks most afternoons. They love to be petted

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  6. these pictures of animals on here are so megestic and beautifull i love capybaras i know a lady who had one and he was the most sweet loving and hansome capybara i had ever met he was aslo litterbox traned i love love love capybaras for there different personalitys i want one so bad
    Avery😍❤️💘

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    • Capybaras are very easy to house train. However as they grow older they like to mark their territory with urine and faeces. The leading breeder of capybaras has stopped selling to the public because most people can’t cope with having a capybara as a pet and many of them die prematurely or very tragically end up in refuges.

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  7. I was interested in getting one of these cuties, but after reading this page, a Capybara would not be suitable for me or my lifestyle. Between a FT job, my kids, veterinary school and a 450 hour externship I have to do, there just wouldn’t be enough time to spend together. I barely have time for my own children between work and school! I will just enjoy looking at pictures and videos of other peoples Capybara’s.🙂 BTW, your site is extremely informative!

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    • Dear ‘Cupcake’,

      Thank you very much for your comments. Capybaras are fabulous animals but I think you have made the right decision if you care about the happiness of animals.

      I always thought I would have a pet capybara one day. But having spent a lot of time visiting and observing other people’s pet capybaras I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t really fair on the capybara unless I was going to have a whole herd of capybaras so that they could bond with each other and live as normal a life as possible since they are after all a wild animal.

      I wish you all the best. Maybe you could specialise in treating capybaras along with other animal species. You are obviously a very intelligent and caring person and that’s just what capybaras need.

      Best wishes, Liz

      Like

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