Rescued from Her Mother’s Womb 母親の子宮から救助された

Juanita’s Story: A Baby Capybara Who Was Rescued from Her Mother’s Womb, and Survived Against All Odds, After Hunters Killed Her Mother. フアニタの話。 母親の子宮から救出されたベビーカピバラ。 ハンターズは母親を殺した。 驚くほど赤ちゃんは生き残った。

WN on the bed to

Juanita on the Bed Looking Dreamy

Gunshots rang out in the cold night air of the jungle followed by a sickening thud. Juan’s heart sank. He had seen three capybaras running for their lives through the undergrowth… when he reached her still warm body his heart sank further. One of the capybaras was a heavily pregnant female with three babies in her womb. Two of the babies had been injured by the hunter’s bullets but Juan was able to rescue the third pup.

 This was little Juanita’s introduction to the world of humans.

WN baby in daddy's arms telephone

Juan Holding Baby Juanita

Juanita’s story begins in Esquina in the province of Corrientes in Argentina, about eight hours drive from the capital Buenos Aires. It is a beautiful area but there is also much poverty and ignorance. Rivers are polluted with garbage even though many people rely on fishing for their sustenance. There is indiscriminate killing of wild animals even when this is illegal as is the case with hunting capybaras. Hunters frequently use packs of dogs which are deliberately underfed. There is often a total disregard for the welfare of animals.

As a boy, Juan often spent vacations with his family in Esquina, and the family now own a home there. Over the years Juan made many friends in the area some of whom go hunting. They repeatedly asked Juan to join them when they go hunting for wild boar. As an animal lover Juan has no desire to kill animals.

WN very cute One day old

Juanita, Just One Day Old

One night in Esquina Juan and Victoria very reluctantly join the group on a hunt for wild boar. On the far side of the lake Juan notices a large capybara watching them. Then to his horror one of the group begins to take aim. Juan tries to stop him but three shots ring out before he can intervene. Seconds earlier there had been three capybaras, now two are dead. Juan is very angry and very upset.

Juan’s heart sinks further when he discovers that one of the dead capybaras is heavily pregnant. The hunters have already begun to cut open the pregnant capybara as Juan approaches. Inside there are three baby capybaras. Two have been injured by the hunter’s bullets but Juan thinks the third pup might have a chance. Juan rescues her and ties her umbilical cord. Then he gently massages her until she begins to breathe. All this time Victoria has been sitting in the Jeep, her head bent down and covered in coats, trying to block out the tragedy that is unfolding for this capybara family in the cold night air of the jungle. Juan puts this tiny, vulnerable bundle of life inside his jacket and walks over to Victoria and tells her to keep the baby warm. Carpincha, the name they initially give her (carpincha is the Argentinian name for a female capybara) snuggles in Victoria’s warm lap. It is five in the morning now and the baby capybara has had nothing to eat. They find a pharmacy and buy some milk and baby formula. As soon as they get back to their cottage Victoria goes on the Internet desperate to find information on how to feed and look after a capybara. She can find no information and breaks down in tears, certain that little Carpincha is going to die.

WN 5 hours after rescue eyes closed

Juanita Five Hours After She is Rescued From Her Mother’s Womb

It starts to rain and Juan decides to return to Buenos Aries immediately as there will be fewer police checks when it is raining and they need to get Carpincha to a vet.

Victoria wraps Carpincha in a blanket and hides her in her rucksack at her feet. She is so afraid the police will stop them and discover the little capybara and take her away. After some time Victoria notices that Carpincha has not moved. Victoria panics and tells Juan to stop the car. Carefully they lift the small bundle out of the rucksack, their hearts beating, fearing the worst. To their immense relief Carpincha is still breathing. The heat and suffocation have caused her to pass out.

In the fresh air Carpincha begins to revive. Victoria gives her some milk and they continue their journey with the baby capybara sitting on Victoria’s lap. Victoria is increasingly fearful and sad that this little capybara entrusted into their care will not survive. This little bundle of life, so fragile, vulnerable and trusting has completely captured her heart.

WN sleeping beautiful face

Juanita Sleeping

They decide to call her Juanita, after Juan who rescued her and saved her life.

Early the next day Victoria takes little Juanita to the neighbourhood vet, but he knows nothing about capybaras. With mounting concern Victoria calls the zoo and speaks to their vet. Everything they have been doing is wrong. Capybaras cannot digest cow’s milk. Capybaras are lactose intolerant which means they cannot drink the milk of most other mammals.

On day four Juanita has diarrhoea which gets worse as the hours pass. Juanita becomes weaker. Victoria is becoming desperate. She phones an equine vet and he gives her the phone number of the leading exotic animal vet in the country, Dr Fernando Pedrosa. Victoria immediately phones him and makes an appointment to see him as soon as possible that day. She also finally gets the correct information on what to feed a capybara.

WN Victoria kisses J

Victoria Kisses Juanita

Dr Pedrosa tells her that Juanita has no chance of surviving. She has not had colestrum, found in a mother’s milk during the first five days of lactation, and considered essential to provide the antibodies the little capybara will need to fight off infections. Dr Pedrosa also says that the circumstances of her birth were so stressful that this will also undermine her chances of survival. On that day Juanita weighs 1200 grams.

The vet also tells Victoria to feed the little capybara lots of grass and green vegetables to overcome the diarrhoea.

Victoria leaves Dr Pedrosa’s office with a heavy heart, fighting back the tears.

The next few months are extremely stressful for Victoria and Juan, wondering if their little capybara will survive. Some days Juanita refuses to eat. However she likes to suck on clothes, so Victoria covers the nipple of Juanita’s milk bottle with gauze and Juanita begins to suckle.

WN J with Victoria

Juanita with Victoria

Against The Odds Juanita Has Survived. This Is Her Life Today:

Now two and a half years on Juanita is a thriving female capybara. Victoria and Juan through their devotion and commitment have kept Juanita alive against all odds.  She has stolen the heart of everyone who meets her. Victoria and Juan have moved house in order to provide her with the large, grass filled garden and swimming pool she needs.

WN one very muddy

Capybaras Love Mud and Mud is Very Good for Their Skin

When Victoria discovered that she was five weeks pregnant Juanita already knew this and had begun to act like a baby again, calling her with shrill whistles at 3 AM in the morning like she used to do when she was a baby and sucking on Victoria’s fingers for a long, long time until Victoria’s fingers began to hurt. I believe that Juanita could smell the hormonal changes that Victoria was experiencing which are probably similar to those of other mammals including capybaras. Juanita was two and one half years old at the time and it is interesting to speculate on her behaviour. Was she trying to tell Victoria that they didn’t need another baby, that she Juanita could be their baby again.

WN grazing in her large garden                               WN swimming in her large pool

Juan and Victoria moved house in order to give Juanita a large swimming pool and a huge grassy garden. Capybaras are semiaquatic. Their feet are partially webbed. Capybaras love to swim and play in water. They also mate and defecate in water. When the weather is very hot they go into water to thermoregulate, i.e. to make sure they do not get to It is essential that capybaras have access to grazing when ever they want. Grass is the most important constituent in their diet. In the wild capybaras eat grass, aquatic plants, and sage

Like all capybaras Juanita is very territorial and likes to mark her territory, which includes marking wallets, jackets and everything belonging to visitors. She is very frightened of the sound of barking dogs; do they evoke a memory of that fateful day when hunters with a pack of dogs murdered her mother?

JWM helping out in the kitchen

Juanita Likes To Take Charge in the Kitchen

Capybaras are very intelligent and emotionally they are very sensitive and sophisticated. Naturally they would like to control you if they can. I know from research that rats do not like to be controlled or to have their environment controlled. They want to be in control of their lives and I am sure it is the same with capybaras.

Juanita respects Victoria more when Victoria is firm with her and shows that she, Victoria, is higher in the hierarchy.

J with baby boxer dog WN

Juanita Loves Baby the Boxer

Juanita’s family now includes a hen and a rooster, who terrified her to begin with but who have now become firm friends. Victoria’s sister gave her a poodle. At first Juanita hated that poodle, a rival for the love of the humans she has bonded with. Several times Juanita tried to bite the poodle but these days she and the poodle have settled into a love/hate relationship. Juanita loves the family’s boxer dog, Baby and often sleeps nestled between Baby’s paws.

WN sitting on daddy's lap

Juanita, Now Two and a Half Years Old

Juanita likes to sleep with her head resting on Juan. If Juan is out of the house she likes to sleep curled up on Juan’s clothes. His smell seems to reassure her and give her comfort; the man who saved her life.

How to Pet a Capybara. Capybara Erogenous Zones: The Parts of the Body Where Capybaras Love to Be Petted. カピバラをマッサージする方法 Как домашнее животное водосвинку

wn-how-to-pet-blog

 

Capybaras are the most responsive animals I have ever encountered. They love to be petted and their response is overwhelming. Their hair rises (pilo erection), they start to sing (capybaras make the most beautiful sounds and vocalisations) and they roll over on their backs with a look of complete ecstasy on their faces.

These are the places on their bodies which are most responsive to petting:

Capybaras love to be petted near their cloaca (anal pocket). Capybaras have the cleanest bottoms as their anus and reproductive organs are hidden inside their cloaca and when they defecate their faeces is expelled through their anal tube so their bottoms are completely clean. Also since they spend a lot of time in water they are very clean animals. I personally think they are much cleaner than humans.

The soles of their feet are very sensitive, the hind feet slightly more so than their front feet. They love to have the soft pad behind the toes and the toes rubbed. One capybara I know goes into a trance when you rub the soft pad behind his toes.

The muscles of their buttocks, on either side of the cloaca are very responsive to massage.

Just behind where their forelegs meet their bodies is another area they love having rubbed. One capybara I know goes into a trancelike state of ecstasy when this area is rubbed. Just in front of where their hind legs meet their bodies they love having rubbed as well.

When you pet a capybara you should rub its skin pushing the hair in the opposite direction to the way their hair grows, and in the opposite direction to the way you would pet a cat or dog. Some capybaras like to be petted very vigourously. Some capybaras may even like you to use your fingernails as if you were scratching him/her. Other capybaras hate to be petted vigourously. Some capybaras respond to even the lightest touch as you gently disturb the hair on their backs or other parts of the body. Once a capybara gets to know you and enjoys the way you pet him/her, he/she may react to your presence even before you touch him/her in anticipation of the forthcoming pleasure. One friend wriggles her fingers in a petting motion to indicate to the two capybaras she lives with that she is about to pet them, and their hair rises in blissful anticipation.

In the wild capybaras often go into ecstasy with their hair raised when birds “groom them” looking for ticks. The touch of the bird’s feet and beak create a very pleasurable sensation for the capybara. Capybaras in captivity often respond in this way to the touch of other animals brushing against their bodies or nuzzling and nibbling them. Pet capybaras often respond in this way to pet dogs, or other pet animals.

Some capybaras love to be rubbed under their chins. This is particularly true of baby capybaras who adore being rubbed under the chin. Capybaras nuzzle each other under their chins and even the gentlest touch from another capybara will make a capybara’s hair rise – a blissful experience for the capybara.

Some capybaras adore having their ears rubbed, other capybaras hate this. There are many different ways to rub a capybara’s ears. You can pass the flat of your hand over the ear from front to back, you can gently rub different areas of the ear and where it attaches to the head with your thumb and forefinger.

There is a place on the sides of a capybara’s nose a bit further back than its mouth which is particularly sensitive, especially with baby capybaras. Rubbing or massaging this area may send a capybara into a trancelike state.

Capybaras love to be rubbed on their chests and on their tummies/stomachs/bellies. One capybara I know begins to sing loudly when rubbed on the lower part of his tummy.

Once a capybara is rolling on his back in a state of ecstasy almost anything you gently do will create a response. I know one baby capybara who likes to be gently prodded with a fork. This probably mimics the feeling a capybara in the wild would have when a bird grooms him eating any ticks with his sharp beak. Capybaras love being groomed in the wild by birds.

Capybaras love the gentle touch of other animals and will roll over in ecstasy very often if another animal gently rubs against him. I know one baby capybara who, in the midst of jostling and fighting with his siblings for a bite of bamboo, will go into a trancelike state with his head raised, his nose pointing to the sky, if one of his brothers or sisters accidentally rubs him under the chin while trying to get the bamboo. This baby capybara will lose all interest in eating and hold his head high waiting for the experience to be repeated.

Some capybaras, particularly baby capybaras, will nuzzle another capybara and rub their chins on the other capybara’s back in the hopes of the second capybara nuzzling him/her in return.

I sometimes use a leash/lead and gently run it over the hair starting near the capybara’s bottom, then moving on to the feet and other favourite places. Some capybaras adore to be petted in this way. I have also found that by very gently rubbing my foot under a capybara who is standing, starting in front of the hind legs and moving up its tummy to the front legs, and then gently rubbing my foot against his/her bottom capybaras go into a state of absolute bliss. If I am behind a standing capybara and gently rub between his/her hind legs, capybaras adore this. One capybara I know went into a trancelike state when I gently rubbed her under the chin with my foot.

It helps if you can judge the mood of a capybara before you start petting. If a capybara is sleepy he/she is unlikely to be responsive.

Every capybara is an individual with different preferences so by watching a capybara’s responses you can work out whether he or she is enjoying what you are doing. The rise and fall of their hair will indicate the degree of pleasure you are giving the capybara. You will need to keep moving between the different areas to create the greatest response. If you just keep rubbing one place the response begins to die down.

 

 

Tags:   wn-how-to-pet-blogКак домашнее животное водосвинку, How To Pet A Capybara, Nagasaki Bio Park, 長崎バイオパーク,  Capybara, Adorable, Cute, かわいい、Animal, カピバラ、 Rodent, かわいい, Giant Hamster, カピバラ、Capy, 靖,rat, carpincho, очаровательны милые водосвинка,べる,   同情、капибара, 水, 豚 水豚, capivara, chiguire, ronsoco, ゆず,  Pouffy,、長崎バイオパーク、professional quality HD, プロフェッショナル品質のHD、stereo, カピバラをマッサージする方法, erogenous, zones, Momiji, How to pet a capybara,

 

 

 

The Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park 長崎バイオパークのカピバラ

すべての動物は、個々のです。ちょうど人間のように。喜びははるかに大きいです。カピバラの名前を知っています。カピバラのキャラクターと個性を知っています。あなたははるかにカピバラをお楽しみいただけます。あなたは彼の名前を知らない場合はカピバラを侮辱です。彼の性格。カピバラを認識してください。彼らはこれを値します。

 

You will probably fall in love with the capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. They are so affectionate and friendly and patient. Since they are living as a herd, bonding with their own species, they do not suffer the stress that many pet capybaras suffer.

As everybody who loves animals knows, your relationship and pleasure in the company of an animal is much greater if you know who the animal is and what it’s personality and character are like. Every animal is an individual, with a different personality, just as every human is. I find it insulting to animals not to identify them whenever possible. Obviously viewing animals in the wild it is unlikely you will know anything about them but every animal in a captive situation deserves to be recognised.

すべての動物は、個々のです。ちょうど人間のように。喜びははるかに大きいです。カピバラだ

Donguri  どんぐり

Donguri Chan, one of the world's great leaders! Leader of the herd at Nagasaki Bio Park. どんぐりチャン。世界の偉大な指導者の一人。長崎バイオパークの群れリーダー

Donguri Chan, one of the world’s great leaders! Leader of the herd at Nagasaki Bio Park. どんぐりチャン。世界の偉大な指導者の一人。長崎バイオパークの群れリーダー

 

Donguri is the leader of the herd at Nagasaki Bio Park. What first drew me to Donguri was her gentle, non-aggressive nature. This was in 2012 and at the time she was not part of the hierarchy because she didn’t like to fight. Her sister Aki was number one in the hierarchy and sensing that the larger Donguri was her chief rival she went out of her way to intimidate Donguri and make her life very difficult. After Aki’s tragic death in October 2012 Donguri automatically assumed the mantle of leadership that she so rightly deserved. She is a very wise and compassionate capybara and her behaviour is always fascinating to watch.

She is a natural leader, always alert to the suffering of other capybaras in her herd. Every day, several times a day, she visits the capybaras who are in separate enclosures. Capybaras are amongst the most gregarious animals and to be alone in an enclosure can be stressful and frustrating. Donguri knows this and does her best to mitigate their unhappiness. My impression is that she does not have a high opinion of humans. She knows they control her life and she knows that if she was in control the lives of the capybaras would be much better. There would be a large area of grass for them to graze on all day and the male capybara, Toku, would be part of the herd for all the females to enjoy!

Donguri keeps a watch on everything that happens in the capybara enclosure including the activities of the humans. She has a very penetrating gaze and a natural aura of power. She is the 5th oldest capybara in Japan at 11 years old.

Donguri is so gentle when I feed her. She brushes her soft lips across my hand as she gathers up the pellet. I think she senses how pleasurable this is for me. She is very proud and won’t come over to beg for pellets. She waits for me to come to her. Sometimes I jangle the pellet container, when I know she is hungry. But she still won’t come over as if to show me what a proud and noble capybara she is. If I want to feed her I should go to her, she says. Although on other occasions she fixes me with her beautiful and very penetrating gaze, and walks towards me singing.

Capybaras sniff each other’s bottoms to gather information. What they smell can tell them many things about the capybara such as her health and reproductive status, including whether she is in estrus. Donguri was always smelling the bottoms of other capybaras in her herd. She was always a very interested and curious Capybara. Every time a capybara passed in front of her Donguri would sniff that capybaras bottom. She showed much more interest in the other capybaras and sniffed many more bottoms than the other capybaras in the herd. Just one of the many way she was such a good leader, keeping track of the health and well-being of her herd

For more about Donguri, I have written several blogs including this one:

 Donguri, The Perfect Capybara. どんぐり、パーフェクトカピバラ

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/donguri-the-perfect-capybara-%e3%81%a9%e3%82%93%e3%81%90%e3%82%8a%e3%80%81%e3%83%91%e3%83%bc%e3%83%95%e3%82%a7%e3%82%af%e3%83%88%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%80%82/

I am heartbroken.  Donguri died peacefully in the early morning of June 17, 2016. She remained as leader of the Bio Park herd right up to the end of her life. I will never forget her. I learned so much about capybaras and animal behaviour from her. She was a truly exceptional capybara.

.
Hinase

Hinase

Hinase is joint number two in the Bio Park hierarchy with Maple. She loves being in the company of the male capybaras, a trait she has passed on to her daughters Ryoko, Keiko and Sumere. As she is at the top of the hierarchy she gets plenty to eat at breakfast time and so does not bother much with the bamboo and pellets offered by the visitors (there is always hay available for the capybaras to eat but they prefer bamboo and pellets), and like Donguri she is usually too proud to beg. Because of this she often sits away from the main petting area where she will not be disturbed by humans. My impression is that like Donguri she does not hold humans in high regard. However she does love to be petted and is probably the most responsive capybara in the herd. I have put her at number two because she is more involved in community actions and affairs than Maple.

Along with Donguri she will often bark or make the strange gruff call to Toku that signifies time for action by the whole herd. She spends quite a large portion of her day by Toku’s enclosure, singing to him, rubbing her morillo on the entrance gate to his enclosure, and communicating with him using chemical messages by rubbing her anal scent glands or depositing faeces and urine.

After Donguri, she is one of my favourite capybaras. Donguri was her grandmother and the late Fujiko was her mother. Her father was Takeshi.

Maple

Maple

Maple is pregnant and is due to give birth any day now. She has a natural affinity with people and will sit calmly for a very long time patiently hoping to be fed while people pet her or take endless photos. She is extremely patient! Where other capybaras will move away when they have had enough petting, Maple will quietly sit beside you. She instinctively knows how to attract people to feed her and where to sit to ensure she gets the most food of all the capybaras. Consequently she is the fattest capybara I have ever met. Unlike Hinase and Donguri she seems to like people and they are drawn to her, even though it must be obvious that she doesn’t need any extra food!

It is her aggressive nature that has put her near the top of the hierarchy. She is the most aggressive of the capybaras towards other capybaras, and I was afraid she would challenge Donguri for leadership of the herd, but fortunately this has not happened. She hates Choco and regularly chases him away from the petting and feeding areas and into the pond.

Momiji

Momiji and her daughter, little baby Aoba, sleeping together heads touching. Aoba often sleeps snuggled up with mummy Momiji or even on top of her soft warm body.

Momiji and her daughter, little baby Aoba, sleeping together heads touching. Aoba often sleeps snuggled up with mummy Momiji or even on top of her soft warm body.

I have a soft spot for Momiji, partly because she is such a fantastic mother. All her babies are very demanding but I have never seen her deny them milk, unlike Maple who was always more interested in being fed than feeding her babies, Cookie and Butter. Aoba was an exceptionally demanding baby and sometimes Momiji would throw up her head in exasperation and bark at Aoba’s endless demands for milk. Unlike Maple who liked to nurse her babies next to the pellet dispenser knowing that visitors would find this activity very cute and buy her extra pellets, Momiji would always lead Aoba off to a quiet corner of the enclosure away from the humans.

Momiji is a very intense capybara who does everything to the best of her ability. She is a wonderful lover and daughter. Donguri is her mother and when Donguri was going through some health problems and when she suffered a very painful leg injury Momiji would sit close to her. She was the only capybara who stayed with Donguri in the pond where Donguri could rest her very painful leg. She puts the same intensity of effort into being fed by the visitors which can sometimes slightly alarm them – poor Momiji! She is probably the fittest of the capybaras because of her restless nature.

Zabon

17% crop WN Zabon 4th August 2015 058

Zabon is a favourite with the keepers. She is one of the least aggressive capybaras and rather than fight for food she eats the hay that is available all day but which is spurned by all but the hungriest capybaras. She has been watching Choco stealing food and has learnt that this is a good strategy for getting extra bamboo! She is a large capybara, with a long body, and is recognisable by her long nose, the longest of the capybaras in the herd. Her eyes are very similar to Maple. She likes people and would often come and sit next to me. Her mother was Aki and her father was the great Yasushi.

Gin

16% WN crop Gin the troublemaker 29th Augusst 2015 036

Gin is a troublemaker! She loves to bite everything including her sister, the cables powering the electric wheelchairs, everything and anything. She can on occasion be very aggressive, I have even seen her challenge Maple who is much bigger than her when they were vying for the attention of Goemon, a male capybara who is Zabon’s brother. She loves to be petted as did her sister Kin. She attacked her sister Kin so seriously that Kin had to be removed from the herd. However this worked out very well for Kin who has now moved to a sister zoo, Mongol Village, to be with Kenta, a male capybara, where they hope to start a family.  Gin means silver in Japanese, and Kin means gold.

I can always recognise Gin by the look in her eye! Her mother was Fujiko and her father was Yasushi.

Choco

Choco Stealing Bamboo

Choco Stealing Bamboo

Choco is a character and everyone loves him. Fed up with being at the bottom of the hierarchy at feeding time he cleverly came up with an alternative strategy. At breakfast time he went to Monkey Island, climbed inside the monkey house and ate the monkey’s food until he grew too large to fit through the door! People often wonder why the monkeys tolerated this. Having watched the capuchin monkeys for hours I believe that they most enjoy harassing those capybaras who get most upset. Just like humans, if the capybaras don’t get upset there’s no point in harassing them. Choco is used to being chased and bitten by other capybaras but he doesn’t let that stop him, and I suspect he was the same with the capuchin monkeys and just calmly ignored their attempts to harass him. The end result is that most of the time they just watch him eat their food and only very occasionally does he get chased off the island. However, when Ryoko and Aoba tried to go into the monkey house they were instantly chased away. The price Choco has paid for spending so much time on Monkey Island is that he has become a partial outsider in the herd which results in him suffering many more attacks by the senior capybaras in the hierarchy.

Choco quite blatantly steals bamboo from under the noses of the keepers. He often knocks over the bowl of duck and swan pellets that sits on top of the bamboo stall, thereby scattering the pellets all over the ground for him and other capybaras to eat. When the keepers go over to feed the swan in the pond Choco will go over and sit beside them. He gently bites them if they neglect to give him his fair share of pellets! He is easily identifiable by the second toe from the outside of his left front foot which is slightly split in two.

Maple hates him and will chase him to the furthest reaches of the enclosure and into the pond. On one occasion Maple chased him away from the feeding and petting area and right round to the far side of the pond where Choco jumped into the pond, and swam back to the main feeding area and jumped out. Maple stood on the edge of the pond at the far extremity of the enclosure looking for him, completely unaware that he was back in exactly the place she had chased him away from. Even Donguri doesn’t particularly like him. You can see all the scars in his coat from being bitten by other capybaras but he doesn’t allow the other capybaras to intimidate him, so he has not had to be separated from the herd and put in another enclosure for his own protection as happened to Kin and Yuzu.

He often sits on a bench, a strategy Maple also adopts, to attract the attention of visitors with food. He will then sit in their laps which some visitors love and others find scary. Choco knows that if he is sitting on a human’s lap no other capybara will attack him and he will have the bamboo all to himself. Choco has inherited his father, Toku’s, intelligence.

Clever Capybara Is Almost Successful 賢いカピバラ。ほぼ成功した https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to739UXsc54


Choco in the monkey house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erQ2wFPZDyU&list=UU6vvD9LkAvhQzItm1kCtCfg

Doughnut

25% Doughnut sleeping on Choco. Momiji's 2 baby brothers.

Doughnut sleeping on Choco. Momiji’s 2 baby brothers.
ドーナツはチョコで寝。もみじの2赤ちゃん兄弟

Doughnut is Choco’s brother, Momiji is their mother. Choco and Doughnut are both neutered males and they are the only male capybaras amongst the herd in the main enclosure. Doughnut was a more anxious baby than Choco and often followed Momiji around, calling plaintively for her if he lost sight of her. Perhaps because of this he has never adopted Choco’s clever strategies for getting more food and is noticeably smaller than Choco. However now that he is 2 years old he is bigger than the younger capybaras and will chase them away from his food. Of all the capybaras he is the one who most often tries to escape from the enclosure.

When the Bio Park opened one morning the keepers noticed that the gate had been opened and three capybaras were missing. One of the capybaras had made his way down to the entrance gate a 20 minute walk away. I am certain that Doughnut was one of the escapees and I can’t help feeling it was Choco who opened the gate to allow them to escape.   His and Choco’s father, Toku, worked out how to open the gate to his enclosure.

Ryoko

13% WN Ryoku 12th September 2015 189

Ryoko is the largest of Hinase’s three female babies and was the most aggressive as a baby ensuring she got more to eat which is why she is the largest of the three. However these days she does not seem to be particularly aggressive. She, Sumere and Keiko spend a lot of time beside Goemon’s enclosure calling to him, rubbing their morillos and sending chemical messages. Like her mother Hinase, Ryoko also loves to be petted.

Keiko

30% WN windy day crop Keiko absolutely brilliant 30th September 2015 091

Keiko is now the most aggressive of the three sisters and has given Aoba some deep bites even though Aoba is larger. She is the smallest of the three sisters perhaps because she expends so much energy fighting and communicating with Goemon rather than eating. Her coat is a more reddish colour than her other two sisters, something she has inherited from her father Toku whose coat is noticeably reddish.

Sumere

30% WN 20% Sumere 20th August 2015 068

Sumere, like her sisters, spends a lot of time trying to attract Goemon’s attention. She has more black about her face than Ryoko and Keiko.

Aoba

30% WN JPEG Aoba and Masakazu SnapShot(5)

Aoba is an interesting capybara.  She also has inherited Toku’s intelligence and as a rather spoilt “only child” she is very confident and pushy, in the nicest possible way of course. Everyone expected her to become a rather aggressive capybara, but she is not aggressive towards other capybaras. Most capybaras are weaned at about 4 months of age but Aoba kept on drinking Momiji’s milk until she was 8 months old! Thanks to all the milk Momiji gave her she has become a larger capybara than Keiko and Sumere who are 4 months older than her.

She understands the importance of networking and tries to be friends with the capybaras at the top of the hierarchy. She spends a lot of time playing with Donguri in the pond and she uses this relationship to share Donguri’s food trough which ensures that she doesn’t get chased away by other senior capybaras. Donguri is very tolerant. Curiously, Maple is not usually friendly on land and if Aoba comes over to sit beside her Maple will usually chase her away and even give her a gentle bite if she doesn’t get the message. However, towards the end of the summer I noticed Aoba and Maple playing happily together in the pond, so her strategy appears to be working. I have never seen her with Hinase. Last year when Aoba was a baby she decided that I was sufficiently high ranking that she should ingratiate herself with me. When I was petting Donguri she would come over and nuzzle me which was not at all to Donguri’s liking, so Donguri would roll over on top of Aoba forcing her to move away!

Since she is still a low ranking capybara she relies on visitors to feed her and pursues them very aggressively, biting their clothes if she doesn’t feel she is getting the bamboo she deserves. She, like Choco, often sits on a bench and climbs into visitors laps for the protection which humans offer and to ensure that she gets all the bamboo on offer.

She often visits Goemon and Toku although not as frequently as Hinase’s three daughters. Her father is Toku and she has inherited his eyes and his reddish coat, and also his intelligence. Some people think she will be a future number one in the hierarchy, although at present she does not seem to have the compassionate, community minded nature that Donguri has.

Butter

12% WN Butter Brilliant 12 October 2015 076 (1)

Butter is a favourite of mine. She would often come and sit beside me, partly for the protection I afforded.  She is not at all aggressive. Being at the bottom of the hierarchy she is frequently attacked by the other capybaras when she competes for food. So rather than beg for food from the visitors she spends a lot of time on the islands grazing on whatever green vegetation she can find and eating hay. She loves to be petted. Neither she nor Cookie, her sister, have shown much interest in male capybaras even though they are slightly older than Aoba.

Cookie

25% of 25% WN crop Cookie 29th Augusst 2015 022

Cookie is probably the cutest capybara. She has had problems with her teeth and often has to be hand fed by the keepers to ensure she gets enough to eat. Because of this she spends a lot of time hanging around the keepers’ bamboo stall waiting for titbits and being petted. She loves to be petted. She is feistier than her sister Butter and despite being the smallest capybara in the herd she is very clever at stealing bamboo from much bigger, more senior capybaras. She runs off with it but the problem is she can’t eat it while she is running. She has inherited Maple and Yasushi’s (her grandfather) short nose which makes her look especially cute. She is Butter’s sister, but smaller than Butter, and Maple is her mother. Toku is their father.

Toku

40% WN Toku

Toku is the Boss Capy as the breeding male is called. He lives in a separate enclosure in order to control the breeding programme. He is highly intelligent and worked out how to open the gate to his enclosure. He is a handsome and playful capybara and every day the herd of female capybaras come to visit him singing loudly. He often sings back to them. Life is very frustrating for him as you can imagine. Sometimes he expresses this frustration with loud barks. Then he will jump up and run around the enclosure several times. Toku gets much more attention from the females when Goemon is away probably because Goemon’s enclosure is closer to the area where the female capybaras hang out. Goemon was born into the Biopark herd so he is too closely related to be mated with the Bio Park females. I therefore find it interesting that the female capybaras seem so intent on mating with him. I would have expected that they would have sensed that they were too closely related to mate.

Goemon and Io

Goemon Has a Magnificent Huge, Glossy Morillo

Goemon Has a Magnificent Huge, Glossy Morillo

Goemon and Io are both un–neutered males who were born at Nagasaki Bio Park. Goemon is Zabon’s brother. Aki, Donguri sister, was their mother and Yasushi was their father. Io, whose mother is Donguri, usually lives in an enclosure at the top of the hill away from the main petting area. Here he is safe from Goemon’s attacks. Goemon lives in an enclosure next to the main enclosure and attracts a lot of attention from the females. When there are no females hanging around his enclosure he acts like a typical male and starts showing off. He barks loudly several times and makes several long, gruff calls of frustration. Then he prances about squeezing his anal pocket in a very stylised way and playing and marking any bamboo or palm fronds that are in his enclosure, making as much noise as possible and behaving in a very ostentatious way. When he and Io, Donguri’s son and also a male, were in adjacent enclosures they used to fight and on one occasion Io was quite badly injured. Goemon seems more aggressive than Io, who has probably inherited his mother Donguri’s pacifist nature. You would think Io would move away from the fence so that he wouldn’t get injured. But males will be males and the challenge of battle overcame good sense.

Io

Baby Io Sleeping When He Was 5 Months Old, in 2012

Baby Io Sleeping When He Was 5 Months Old, in 2012

Io is quite shy and doesn’t like a lot of attention from humans. When he was a baby, Donguri used to spend a lot of time with him on Capuchin Island away from the humans and he probably sensed her low opinion of humans. Every day Donguri spends a long time as close to his enclosure as she can get calling to him.

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

Empathy in Rodents. The Compassionate Capybara. げっ歯類での共感。思いやりカピバラ。

There is a growing body of research proving that rodents are empathetic, compassionate and caring.  (Capybaras are rodents)

(More detailed information about this research at the end of this blog.)

Donguri. Compassionate, Empathetic, Endlessly Caring and Utterly Enchanting.

Donguri. Compassionate, Empathetic, Endlessly Caring and Utterly Enchanting.

The scientific definition of Empathy is the experience of understanding another’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors.

.
I have friends who live with capybaras in their home as members of the family. If one of my friends is ill or in pain the capybaras will come and lie beside them, all day, until they are better. They may lay their head on the injured part of the body or gently and affectionately nuzzle my friend to show their concern and support.

Capybaras are extremely social and gregarious animals. They suffer enormously if separated from the herd, and in the wild would probably not survive if they were separated from their herd. The baby capybaras like to snuggle together for companionship and warmth

Capybaras are extremely social and gregarious animals. They suffer enormously if separated from the herd, and in the wild would probably not survive if they were separated from their herd. The baby capybaras like to snuggle together for companionship and warmth

Many people living with animals will have experienced this compassionate, empathetic behaviour from their companion animals when they themselves were ill or distressed.

One of the things that drew me to Donguri on my first visit to Nagasaki Bio Park in 2012 was her empathetic, caring nature. At this time Aki was number one in the Bio Park hierarchy. Her slightly larger sister Donguri was not in the hierarchy because, as told to me by the keeper, she didn’t like to fight. Aki must have sensed that Donguri was her main rival and she seemed to go out of her way to pick on Donguri. However, it quickly became apparent to me that Donguri was the most important capybara in the herd at Nagasaki Bio Park. She had a wonderfully gentle and compassionate nature. If any capybara was in distress through pain, illness or isolation, Donguri would go over and sit by them and nuzzle them affectionately.

When Momiji was pregnant and had given birth to Choco and Doughnut in 2013, she was kept in a separate enclosure until the babies were 6 weeks old. She missed the company of the herd and often called to them. Several times every day Donguri would come and sit beside Momiji's enclosure. She would gently call to Momiji and rub noses with her through the bars of the fence.

When Momiji was pregnant and had given birth to Choco and Doughnut in 2013, she was kept in a separate enclosure until the babies were 6 weeks old. She missed the company of the herd and often called to them. Several times every day Donguri would come and sit beside Momiji’s enclosure. She would gently call to Momiji and rub noses with her through the bars of the fence.

If the despondent capybara was in a separate enclosure Donguri would rub noses with her through the bars of the fence. The happiness this brought was very obvious as the capybara’s hair rose in joyful response to Donguri’s loving gesture. If the dejected capybara was too far away or out of sight Donguri would sit as close to her as possible and call to her.

Aoba loves sleeping on top of other capybaras. Why sleep on cold, hard concrete when you can have a soft warm capybara body under you. Aoba is also a great networker so it made sense to try and sleep on top of Donguri; all the young capybaras want to associate with Donguri and they know she will never attack them

Aoba loves sleeping on top of other capybaras. Why sleep on cold, hard concrete when you can have a soft warm capybara body under you. Aoba is also a great networker so it made sense to try and sleep on top of Donguri, the most important capybara in the herd.  All the young capybaras want to associate with Donguri and they know she will never attack them

Donguri was also very tolerant of badly behaved humans.

Following Aki’s tragic death in October 2012 Donguri became number one in the Bio Park hierarchy.

Donguri is such a sweet, gentle, thoughtful capybara. I think she looks so beautiful here, dreaming, with her lips slightly parted.

Donguri is such a sweet, gentle, thoughtful capybara. I think she looks so beautiful here, dreaming, with her lips slightly parted.

Donguri is such an outstanding leader, taking command of a difficult situation and giving support to those capybaras who are unhappy or suffering. She is always watching to see what is going on in the capybara enclosure. Watching the humans to see what they are up to and sensitive to the needs of all the other capybaras in her domain. I don’t remember Aki having the same community spirit or leadership qualities.

On our last Sunday a very serious fight broke out between the babies Aoba and Cookie. At one point Aoba was on top of Cookie and looked as if she would like to kill her! But Cookie wasn’t giving up or running away. Then I heard Donguri give a loud bark. She had been fast asleep by the pond. She immediately jumped up and ran over to break up the fight before any serious injuries occurred. I did not think she could move so fast at her age!

Aoba on the left in a very serious fight with Cookie

Aoba on the left in a very serious fight with Cookie

I was surprised to see her run, but very pleased as I had been worried that she was losing her fitness.

Cookie’s mother Maple arrived soon after to protect her little daughter, followed by Momiji a little later amidst much bottom sniffing. Yasuha, number two in the Bio Park herd who had also come over, looked extremely upset and shook her head vigourously several times. Maple inspected Cookie who had a wound. When Momiji arrived Aoba went straight to her and demanded to suckle! On several occasions after the fight Cookie’s sister Butter went over to Aoba either to express her feelings of concern and anger, or to goad her into fighting.

Aoba is on top of Cookie and looks like she would like to kill her. Although Aoba is 13 days younger than Cookie she is larger as she is always demanding to suckle and Momiji is a fantastic mother

Aoba is on top of Cookie and looks like she would like to kill her. Although Aoba is 13 days younger than Cookie she is larger as she is always demanding to suckle and Momiji is a fantastic mother

You can see the fight in this video:    Baby Capybaras Fight to the Death Until Donguri Intervenes赤ちゃんカピバラは死に戦います。どんぐりが介在

Here is my description posted with the video:

A very serious fight breaks out between the two babies Aoba and Cookie. Aoba, although younger, is bigger than Cookie and at one point jumps on top of her and looks as if she would like to kill Cookie. Something in Cookie’s squeal alerts Donguri, the leader of the herd, who has been sleeping beside the pond. She instantly jumps up, barks and rushes over to break up the fight. You can see Donguri on the right. Maple, Cookie’s mother, also rushes over (on the left) and looks as if she might attack Aoba. Donguri noses her away and diffuses the situation. Maple, on left, Cookie’s mother, checks up on Cookie. At 17 seconds Momiji, Aoba’s mother arrives and checks up on Cookie. At 26 seconds Yasuha, Donguri’s daughter and number 2 in the hierarchy of the Bio Park herd, shakes her head in dismay at this aggressive behaviour between the youngest members of the herd. Aoba, greedy as ever, goes over to her mother Momiji to suckle! At 40 seconds Momiji checks up on little Cookie again. 38 seconds later Yasuha goes over to check on Cookie who is still in shock. You can see the bite wound just in front of Cookie’s ear. Butter, Cookie’s sister, tries to attack Aoba several times after the fight is over. (On the video I have said it was Cookie, but in fact it was Butter no doubt defending her sister Cookie and upset at the way Aoba attacked her).

After the fight Aoba goes over to Hinase’s babies. They turn away as if they were slightly embarrassed by the fight and don’t want to get involved. Meanwhile Aoba’s mother, Momiji, jumps up onto a bench and sits there aloofly as if she to wants too appear above the fray.

One of the many reasons I love capybaras is that they behave in such a responsible way and so much like the best humans. I am particularly thinking of Donguri’s behaviour in this situation. Aoba and Cookie had the worst fight I have ever seen amongst the babies. I didn’t see who started the fight but it escalated to the extent that Donguri became concerned and took action. Both mothers, Maple (Cookie’s mother) and Momiji (Aoba’s mother) came over to protect their babies. There must have been a heightened sense of urgency in little Cookie’s cry that indicated how serious the situation was.

Donguri Standing by Yuzu's Enclosure. Yuzu is suffering with a twig stuck up her cloaca and Donguri is very worried.

Donguri Standing by Yuzu’s Enclosure. Yuzu is suffering and in great pain with a twig stuck up her cloaca and Donguri is very worried.

Thanks to Donguri I was alerted to poor Yuzu’s suffering a few days after the fight. Donguri must have heard a distress call from Yuzu as she suddenly stood up and began walking towards Yuzu’s enclosure calling to her.

You can see Donguri’s behaviour when she becomes aware that Yuzu is suffering in this video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_g-TU4LiHY&feature=youtu.be

As I watched Yuzu rolling in agony I noticed a small twig about two inches long protruding from her cloaca. For more about Yuzu please see my blog:

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/poor-capybara-i-thought-she-was-dying-with-a-twig-trapped-up-her-cloaca-%e6%82%b2%e3%81%97%e3%81%84%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%ef%bc%81%e5%b0%8f%e6%9e%9d%e3%81%af%e8%82%9b%e9%96%80/

Poor little baby Cookie is attacked by the aggressive swan. He desperately tries to escape and climb out of the pond

Poor little baby Cookie is attacked by the aggressive swan. She desperately tries to escape and climb out of the pond

On one occasion poor little Cookie was attacked by the swan as she was swimming in the pond. She struggled to clamber up the slippery, moss covered rocks and barely made it out of the pond with the swan pecking her mercilessly. She was visibly shaken and hurting when she got out. Donguri rushed over to make sure she was alright, followed by Cookie’s mother Maple. Afterwards I went over and petted Cookie. She recovered very quickly!

20 Sep 2014 JPEG 178 crop nasty Swan attacks Ricki

That first year in 2012, Donguri’s compassion was particularly evident in relation to Fujiko. Fujiko was pregnant and had been removed from the herd in early August and taken to a separate enclosure just over the hill and out of sight of all the capybaras in the herd. At Nagasaki Bio Park pregnant capybaras used to be removed from the herd prior to giving birth as it was thought the babies might be in danger of aggression from rival female capybaras. In reality most baby capybaras will not experience any danger, and it is certainly very stressful for the pregnant mother to be isolated from the herd. As it is very difficult to predict accurately when a female capybara will give birth a pregnant capybara may spend several weeks alone, in isolation prior to giving birth. This was the case with Fujiko who spent six weeks alone out of sight of the herd before she gave birth in September. Donguri and Fujiko’s two daughters, Ayu and Hinase, would sit by the fence boundary closest to Fujiko for several hours every afternoon, and frequently call to her. On one occasion the entire herd went over to be as close to Fujiko as possible and called to her. Donguri frequently appeared to respond to distress calls from Fujiko that were not audible to my human ear.

One time I was sitting beside Donguri when she suddenly got up and began calling. She looked at me and went immediately to the boundary fence nearest Fujiko. I followed her. She looked up at me again. Capybara eyes are very expressive; research at the Universidade Federaldo Parana, Curitiba, Brazil, has shown them to be structurally very similar to human eyes. Having spent several years in close/intimate proximity to capybaras I believe that I can read their body language and facial expressions. Donguri knows humans control access to the different enclosures and as I am a human I felt she wanted me to take her to Fujiko. I so wished I could have helped her and it was heartbreaking knowing that I had let her down. She could never understand that I didn’t have the authority to comply with her wishes. You can see her behaviour in this video. Donguri walks over to the boundary fence, followed by Ayu. Hinase who has been in the pond some distance away joins us. Donguri calls repeatedly. It must be very stressful for Fujiko to be on her own, especially as she is pregnant. Capybaras are very social animals.

Donguri is the most wonderful leader and she continually amazes me with her compassion. She is such an exceptional and interesting capybara.

Towards the end of our visit I noticed that Yasuha was following Donguri around. Yasuha is number two in the hierarchy, and I wondered if she was learning how to be a good leader by following Donguri’s example. Yasuha is Donguri’s daughter and has inherited Donguri’s calm, laid-back personality. She is now the largest capybara in the herd and will make a wonderful leader as she too, like Donguri, avoids unnecessary aggression. This is in stark contrast to chubby Maple, who is joint number three in the hierarchy with Hinase, and is always ready to attack particularly when food is involved or if a capybara she doesn’t like wants to sit in the Onsen.  Since I wrote this blog Yasuha tragically died in May 2015 as a result of an ektotropic pregnancy. This is where the fetus develops outside the womb. It is possible her life could have been saved if she had been operated on in time.

Donguri Taking a Break from the Stresses of Being The Herd Leader

Donguri Taking a Break from the Stresses of Being The Herd Leader

Donguri is the 5th oldest capybara in Japan. She is 11 years old and I was very upset to see how much she had aged in the last year. I desperately hope she lives to be 13 or at least 12. I thought she visibly perked up during my visit because of all the attention we gave her. Being an older capybara she doesn’t capture the imaginations of the less imaginative visitors who focus on the babies. And I worry about her feeling left out. She certainly gets much less food, bamboo and pellets, from visitors.

.
どんぐりは、日本で時代に7番かもしれません。日本での第7回最古カピバラ。
彼女は、私たちの訪問のための非常に幸せだった。私たちは彼女をとても食べ物と注意を与えた!彼女は古いカピバラですので、訪問者は彼女を無視。赤ちゃんカピバラのような想像力を持っていない人は。私は彼女が取り残さ感じることを心配。

I am heartbroken.  Donguri died peacefully in the early morning of June 17, 2016. She remained as leader of the Bio Park herd right up to the end of her life. I will never forget her. I learned so much about capybaras and animal behaviour from her. She was a truly exceptional capybara.

Fortunately scientists are learning from recent research just how similar many species, including rodents, are to humans in terms of their personalities, character and emotional responses to situations. I have no time for people who decry anthropomorphism. As the eminent ethologist, Marc Bekoff, says, we have the words to describe emotions in humans why on earth wouldn’t you use these same words when they are applicable in situations where animals are behaving.

.
* * * * *
Here is information and links to research evincing empathy in rodents:

.
Recent scientific research has shown that mice display empathy – they feel the pain of other mice and change their behavior. In this compelling story CeAnn Lambert, director of the Indiana Coyote Rescue Center, saw that two baby mice had become trapped in the sink and were unable to scramble up the slick sides. They were exhausted and frightened. CeAnn filled a small lid with water and placed it in the sink. One of the mice hopped over and drank, but the other was too exhausted to move and remained crouched in the same spot. The stronger mouse found a piece of food and picked it up and carried it to the other. As the weaker mouse tried to nibble on the food, the stronger mouse moved the morsel closer and closer to the water until the weaker mouse could drink. CeAnn created a ramp with a piece of wood and the revived mice were soon able to scramble out of the sink.

.
A rat in a cage refuses to push a lever for food when it sees that another rat receives an electric shock as a result. You can read more about research showing empathy amongst animals at this link:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/200906/wild-justice-and-moral-intelligence-in-animals Animal Emotions

.
Marc Bekoff writes: “A study conducted by Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal, Jean Decety, and Peggy Mason working at the University of Chicago and published in the prestigious journal Science provides evidence of empathy-driven behavior in rodents. The study showed that untrained laboratory rats will free restrained companions and this helping is triggered by empathy (Ben-Ami Bartal, I., Decety, J., & Mason, P. 2011. Empathy and pro-social behavior in rats. Science 334, 1427-1430). They’ll even free other rats rather than selfishly feast on chocolate. Researcher Peggy Mason notes, “That was very compelling … It said to us that essentially helping their cagemate is on a par with chocolate. He can hog the entire chocolate stash if he wanted to, and he does not. It’s also very interesting that the rats were not trained to open the cage door. Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal noted. “These rats are learning because they are motivated by something internal. We’re not showing them how to open the door, they don’t get any previous exposure on opening the door, and it’s hard to open the door. But they keep trying and trying, and it eventually works.”
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201112/empathic-rats-and-ravishing-ravens

This is an interesting link: “Rats are guides to emerging questions of evolution and cognition including whether aspects of consciousness once considered exceptional might in fact be quite common.

.
Foremost among these is empathy, widely considered a defining human characteristic. Yet rats it seems possess it too. An especially fascinating line of research, the latest installment of which was published last year in the journal eLife, suggests rats treat each other in an empathic manner. Such thoughtfulness underscores the possibility that rats are far more complicated than we’re accustomed to thinking — and that much of what’s considered sophisticated human behavior may in fact be quite simple.

.
This idea runs contrary to notions of human exceptionality. Yet evolution teaches us that humans and other creatures share not only bodies, but brains.
Many well-regarded psychologists and neuroscientists have taken this position in recent years, arguing that simple empathy provides obvious evolutionary benefits for social animals, especially those species in which mothers care extensively for their young. Even complex, higher-order human empathy appears to stem from basic emotional and cognitive processes that rats—indeed, all mammals—certainly possess. (Rat mothers are historically renowned for their devoted affection.)

.

“Evidence is accumulating that this mechanism is phylogenetically ancient, probably as old as mammals and birds,” de Waal wrote in a 2008 Annual Review of Psychology paper.”

.
The Intriguing New Science That Could Change Your Mind About Rats: http://www.wired.com/2015/01/reconsider-the-rat/

Yet another example of how compassionate rodents are, though I’m sorry they had to experience a watery, near death experience, for scientists to accept this.

.
When one rat is drowning, another will put out a helping paw to rescue its mate. Rats that previously had a watery near-death experience, and therefore understood exactly the suffering experienced by their mates, reacted more quickly.

.
The researchers also watched what happened when rats had to choose between opening the door to help their distressed cagemate or accessing a different door to obtain a chocolate treat for themselves. In most cases, rats chose to help their cagemate before going for the food. According to Sato, this suggests that, for a rat, the relative value of helping others is greater than the benefit of a food reward.

.
The results indicate that rats show empathy. These rodents can share in the emotional state of members of their own species, in this case that of distressed animals.

.
“Our findings suggest that rats can behave prosocially and that helper rats may be motivated by empathy-like feelings towards their distressed cagemate,” says Sato, who believes that studies of sociality, such as empathy in rodents, are important for understanding the underlying neural basis of prosocial behavior as well as evolutionary aspects.
http://phys.org/news/2015-05-rats-members-species.html

 

 

More research to show how similar rats are to humans, emotionally, and how compassionate they are.

The findings from this research further confirms the previous research that rats, and by extension other mammals—including humans—are motivated by empathy and find the act of helping others gratifying. The rats help each other because they care. In order to help the rats need to feel emotionally what it feels like to be the trapped rat. If a rat freed a companion one day it transpired that they were more likely to do so again the next day. This means the behaviour of freeing the trapped rat was being reinforced, i.e. there was a reward mechanism, the rat that freed the trapped rat felt good about his compassionate act and so repeated the “good Samaritan” action.

The rats on the anti-anxiety medication were less likely to free the trapped rat because they did not find doing so rewarding and it is thought this was because they did not find the trapped rats situation “troubling” in the first place.

“Helping others could be your new drug. Go help some people and you’ll feel really good,” Mason said. “I think that’s a mammalian trait that has developed through evolution. Helping another is good for the species.”

Rats given midazolam, an anti-anxiety medication, were less likely to free trapped companions because the drug lessened their empathy, according to a new study by University of Chicago neuroscientists.

The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, validates studies that show rats are emotionally motivated to help other rats in distress. In the latest study, rats treated with midazolam did not open the door to a restrainer device containing a trapped rat, although control rats routinely freed their trapped companions. Midazolam did not interfere with the rats’ physical ability to open the restrainer door, however. In fact, when the restrainer device contained chocolate instead of a trapped rat, the test rats routinely opened the door. The findings show that the act of helping others depends on emotional reactions, which are dampened by the anti-anxiety medication.

“The rats help each other because they care,” said Peggy Mason, PhD, professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago. “They need to share the affect of the trapped rat in order to help, and that’s a fundamental finding that tells us something about how we operate, because we’re mammals like rats too.”

When Shan compared the simulated data to those from the experiments, he saw that the untreated rats performed better than the simulations predicted. If they freed a companion one day, the probability that they would do so again the next day increased, meaning the behavior was being reinforced. Meanwhile, rats given midazolam were no more likely to free a companion one day to the next, even if they did so on a previous day.

“We take that as a sign that the rats given midazolam don’t find the outcome rewarding, presumably because they didn’t find it a troubling situation in the first place,” Shan said.

Mason and her team also tested levels of corticosterone, a stress hormone, in the rats when first exposed to the trapped cage mate and compared them to their later behavior. Those with low- to mid-level responses were most likely to free their companions later. They found that those with the highest levels of corticosterone, or those that were under the most stress from the situation, were the least likely to help their cage mates. This fits well with findings in humans suggesting that eventually high stress becomes immobilizing rather than motivating.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-anti-anxiety-medication-limits-empathetic-behavior.html

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

// //a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com

// //a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com//a.visadd.com/internal/reporter?v=2&format=1&ai=986&subid=inframe&sid=14567725624&ctxu=https%3A//capybaraworld.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php%3Fpost%3D3267%26action%3Dedit&dm=capybaraworld.wordpress.com

//

“Capyboppy” by Bill Peet. How many people who say they love this book have actually read it? カピバラ「capyboppy」の物語

Capyboppy

Capyboppy. Photo by Bill Peet

 

Bill Peet, aged (I’m guessing) about 17, persuades his parents to let him have a Capybara as a pet. Capyboppy arrives, and immediately settles in, acting for all the world as if he owns the place…easily the most important member of the family. He chews everything and terrorises the cats, but his captivating charms ensure he wins the hearts of the family. Bill’s mother is particularly captivated, she pampers him with showers in the morning and in the evening he sits on her lap and watches TV with the family. At weekends he plays with Bill’s friends in the swimming pool, the centre of attention.

 

Capyboppy Hates Being Banished to This Shed at Night. No Capybara Should Ever Sleep Alone at Night. In the wild they would be surrounded by their herd.

Capyboppy Hates Being Banished to This Shed at Night. No Capybara Should Ever Sleep Alone at Night. In the wild they would be surrounded by their herd.  Drawing by Bill Peet.

 

The only part of his daily ritual he doesn’t like is when he is dispatched on his own to the garage to spend the night alone. Capybaras are exceptionally social animals, and a capy in the wild would never sleep alone.

 

Capyboppy on Bill's Mother's Lap, Looking So Happy, Loving the Attention.   Drawing by Bill Peet

Capyboppy on Bill’s Mother’s Lap, Looking So Happy, Loving the Attention. Drawing by Bill Peet

 

When summer comes Bill goes away with some friends. The parents, finding that a wild animal can make a slightly unruly pet when its closest friend abandons it, decide to make an enclosure for Capyboppy in the garden where he can spend the summer. Banished from the house, and the socialising he needs, he becomes depressed.

 

"These Plants Are Tasty"  Drawing by Bill Peet

“These Plants Are Tasty” Drawing by Bill Peet

 

One day a young boy, a friend of the family, comes over to visit and goes out to feed Capyboppy some grass. In his confused and depressed state Capyboppy bites him. Bill’s younger brother gives Capyboppy a ferocious kick which sends him to the bottom of the swimming pool where he stays a considerable time. Eventually he surfaces and crawls to a patch of grass where he remains motionless.

The family ignore him despite the fact that he has suffered a serious wound as a result of the kick. No effort is made to check up on him or to take him to a vet, even when he has not moved at all for hours. Two days later the family belatedly wonder if he is still alive!

Although the boy who was bitten does not in any way hold Capyboppy responsible, the family decide they can no longer keep him and he is sent to a zoo. Despite the obvious signs that Capyboppy is being bullied by the hippos who share his enclosure, the family leave him there. The book ends at this point. Capyboppy is eventually attacked and killed by a guanaco. This all takes place in the 1960s.

 

Capyboppy Enjoying His Shower

Capyboppy Enjoying His Shower. Drawing by Bill Peet

 

Bill Peet went on to do artwork for Disney, and his talent as an artist can be seen in the many excellent drawings featuring Capyboppy, which completely capture his engaging personality and his exceptionally expressive capybara face.

 

Capyboppy enters his new home. The cats are terrified! Capyboppy completely ignores them.

Capyboppy enters his new home. The cats are terrified! Capyboppy completely ignores them. Drawing by Bill Peet

 

I enjoyed the first half of the book, but overall I found it deeply depressing and I am stunned that so many people claim to like it and recommend it for children.   Perhaps they only remember the first part of the book, the happy times for Capyboppy.    Otherwise they cannot possibly be true animal lovers.

 

Capyboppy loves swimming with Bill's friends. He is the centre of attention.

Capyboppy loves swimming with Bill’s friends. He is the centre of attention. Drawing by Bill Peet

 

The moral of the story: if you are going to have a pet and most especially if you are hoping to turn a wild animal into a house pet, do your homework. Make sure you understand its needs and be certain you will still find it enchanting when it grows out of its small, cute baby phase. Most of all, are you the sort of person who will act responsibly and always put your pet’s needs first, before your own needs and desires.

The Peets appear to have given little thought to Capyboppy’s emotional well being as he grew older and larger; ultimately abandoning him to his fate at the zoo in LA despite the warning signs that the hippos with whom he shared the enclosure would never provide him with the companionship he desperately needed.

 

"This Handbag Is Tasty"

“This Handbag Is Tasty”. Drawing by Bill Peet

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

Baby Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. 赤ちゃんカピバラ、 地球上で最も愛らしい生き物。長崎バイオパークで。

Doughnut looks so blissful as he is being nibbled by Macaroni and Choco. Macaroni is Chief nibbler.  ドーナツとても幸せ。マカロニは彼をニブル。幸せな

Doughnut looks so blissful as he is being nibbled by Macaroni and Choco. Macaroni is Chief nibbler. ドーナツとても幸せ。マカロニは彼をニブル。幸せな

A surprise was waiting for me when I arrived at the Biopark at the beginning of August, or rather three of the most adorable little surprises: two week old baby capybaras.   I believe baby capybaras are the most adorable living creatures on earth

Momiji had given birth on July 12th to two baby boys, Choco and Doughnut. Three days later when the keepers arrived at the capybara enclosure early on the morning of July 15th they found a tiny little baby capybara wandering around. After inspecting all the adult capybaras they decided Ayu must be the mother as there was a tell-tale drop of blood on her bottom. She had not produced any milk so there had been no visual indication (swollen mammary glands) to give them a clue that she was pregnant.

Doughnut, sleeping, resting his head on Choco's neck. Macaroni in the background

Doughnut, sleeping, resting his head on Choco’s neck. Macaroni in the background

Toku, the new boss capybara at Nagasaki Bio Park, is the father.  Donguri, the great matriarch of the Bio Park herd and the most important capybara in Japan (in my opinion!), is their grandmother (Or in Macaroni’s case great grandmother).

Since Ayu wasn’t producing any milk little Macaroni, as he was called, moved in with Choco and Doughnut. In the wild mother capybaras communal nurse, called alloparenting (wherein any of the mother capybaras that have given birth will let any of the baby capybaras, not just their own babies, suckle), so it was quite natural for Momiji to take over the role of little Macaroni’s mother and let him suckle.

Ayu was a regular visitor at Momiji’s enclosure sniffing her little baby, Macaroni, through the fence. I felt sorry for her and wondered what was going through her mind. She is one of the sweetest, most gentle capybaras at the Biopark. Like Donguri she is disinclined to fight. She never attacked Momiji when Momiji rejoined the herd in the main enclosure, and it would be interesting to know if this was because of her pacifist nature or because Momiji was looking after her baby.

This is a very interesting photo: Ayu and Macaroni. Macaroni is Ayu's son. But Ayu did not produce any milk so Macaroni moved in to Momiji's enclosure with her sons Choco and Doughnut. Sometimes Ayu used to come and visit Macaroni and they would sniff each other through the fence. However you can see how strong the bond between natural mother and baby Macaroni is in this photo. The photo was taken about 11 days after Macaroni, and Momiji and the other babies rejoined the herd in the main petting enclosure. あゆとマカロニ:これは非常に興味深い写真です。マカロニはあゆの息子である。マカロニは彼女の息子チョコとドーナツともみじのエンクロージャに引っ越しせますが、あゆはどんな牛乳を生産しなかった。時々、アユはマカロニを来て、訪問するために使用。彼らはフェンスを介して互いににおいを嗅ぐことになる。しかしあなたが自然な母親と赤ちゃんマカロニの間の結合が、この写真ではどのように強力見ることができます。写真はマカロニ後の11日採取し、もみじや他の赤ちゃんは、メインふれあいエンクロージャに群れに復帰しました

This is a very interesting photo: Ayu and Macaroni. Macaroni is Ayu’s son. But Ayu did not produce any milk so Macaroni moved in to Momiji’s enclosure with her sons Choco and Doughnut. Sometimes Ayu used to come and visit Macaroni and they would sniff each other through the fence. However you can see how strong the bond between natural mother and baby Macaroni is in this photo. The photo was taken about 11 days after Macaroni, and Momiji and the other babies rejoined the herd in the main petting enclosure. あゆとマカロニ:これは非常に興味深い写真です。マカロニはあゆの息子である。マカロニは彼女の息子チョコとドーナツともみじのエンクロージャに引っ越しせますが、あゆはどんな牛乳を生産しなかった。時々、アユはマカロニを来て、訪問するために使用。彼らはフェンスを介して互いににおいを嗅ぐことになる。しかしあなたが自然な母親と赤ちゃんマカロニの間の結合が、この写真ではどのように強力見ることができます。写真はマカロニ後の11日採取し、もみじや他の赤ちゃんは、メインふれあいエンクロージャに群れに復帰しました

At the Biopark the female capybaras are removed from the main enclosure up to six weeks before they give birth (it is difficult to estimate with any accuracy the date on which a mother capybara will give birth, hence the long period of sequestration). Mother and babies then remain in a separate enclosure for about six weeks. The reason for this separation is so that no harm will come to the babies. However, there is then the problem of reintroducing the mother back into the herd. Momiji was attacked many times by Maple and Yasuha who wanted her place in the hierarchy. Momiji had been joint number two in the hierarchy with Hinase and Yasuha. Ayu was next in the hierarchy followed by Maple.

Capybara Sumo Wrestlers.  相撲 レスリングカピバラ

Capybara Sumo Wrestlers. 相撲 レスリングカピバラ

In South America, following extensive research, female capybaras are no longer separated prior to giving birth as the problems associated with reintroducing them into the herd are greater than any danger of infanticide.

I spent many very enjoyable days watching Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni play together and clamber all over long suffering Momiji.   This is one of my favorite baby capybara videos:  Doughnut being nibbled by Macaroni and Choco.   Macaroni is the most enthusiastic nibbler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVeUwa1pnoI

Macaroni, Ayu's son.  マカロニ。アユの息子。

Macaroni, Ayu’s son. マカロニ。アユの息子。

In this video Momiji’s two sons Choco and Doughnut play together and scramble all over each other. Macaroni, appears right at the end.  もみじの2人の息子とチョコドーナツは、一緒に遊ぶ。とすべてお互いかけスクランブル。彼らは2013712日に生まれました。父はとくです。長崎バイオパークで新しい上司カピバラ。どんぐり、偉大な女家長。彼らの祖母です。アユの赤ちゃんの息子、マカロニは、右端に表示されます。

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF4VXOKASI8

Choco, the baby capybara with the black scars, seems most like his mother Momiji. He has a more anxious personality and is not quite as physically strong as his brother Doughnut. He often calls plaintively for Momiji; he likes to be near her. Choco seems to have inherited Momiji’s intense and emotional personality. He was often the most responsive to petting. He also called the most and was very fretful when Momiji was in Toku’s enclosure mating with him. Choco couldn’t understand what was going on; “Why is Toku jumping on mummy and why has she been separated from us”. Later on I saw Choco practising Toku’s moves on his little brother Doughnut; clambering on top of him from the rear. All the babies are male.

Choco

Choco

Choco often called Momiji when he was separated from her and couldn’t find her. At breakfast time he was the baby capybara who seemed to elicit the most aggression from the older capybaras when the babies tried to feed at the same food trough.

On the day a film crew entered Momiji’s enclosure and frightened her, Choco was the baby who was most upset by their intrusion and suffered a large cut and several abrasions, just like Momiji herself. Momiji had obviously been frightened by the presence of strangers in her small enclosure and had tried to escape from the film crew.

One time when I was petting Choco, he asked me if his name was “Kowai”.  (“Kowai” means “cute” in Japanese).

Momiji rests her head on Choco

Momiji rests her head on Choco

Momiji is a very restless capybara, wiry, fit and athletic. She seems to give herself one hundred percent to any activity, whether it is looking after her babies, suckling or making love to Toku.

Momiji is an incredibly patient mother, standing quietly until all the babies have finished suckling. If she is sitting down and one of the babies wants some milk, he will burrow his nose into her tummy looking for a nipple. If he can’t find a nipple, he will bite her a couple of times to get her to stand up , which she always does immediately. もみじは信じられないほどの患者の母親です。  すべての赤ちゃんまで、静かに立って授乳を終えた。彼女が座っていると赤ちゃんの1は、いくつかの牛乳を望んでいる場合。 彼は乳首を探して、彼女のおなかに彼の鼻を穴を掘るします。は乳首を見つけることができない場合、彼は彼女をかむ。彼女が立って取得するには、彼女はいつもすぐに立ち上がる。

When Momiji suckles her three babies she goes into a very contented, almost trancelike state. Her eyes glaze over and she starts making this “happy” vocalisation and her nose vibrates. Here is a video of Momiji suckling her babies making this very cute, contented sound:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgquAQFJXyQ

Momiji and Doughnut

Momiji and Doughnut

Doughnut is strong and calm by nature. He was able, on two occasions, to jump the two feet out of the empty pond, on the day the pond was emptied and cleaned, but little Choco and Macaroni, try as they might just could not manage it. It was heartbreaking to watch. Their little legs pounded and flailed as they tried to grip the top of the stone wall, but time and again they fell back, often landing awkwardly. I was so afraid one of them might break its little leg. Fortunately this drama occurred just before lunchtime, so while all the keepers and management who had been cleaning the pond were away, I was able to buy some bamboo and lure Momiji and her babies out of the empty pond on the opposite side where there were some stepping stones which allowed the baby capybaras to easily jump up.

Little Doughnut

Little Doughnut

Macaroni, Ayu’s son, was a little smaller than Choco and Doughnut. He was fully accepted by Momiji and her babies but often chose not to play with them, probably because they were a little bigger than him. They almost always snuggled up to nap together. Macaroni also seemed to be living to a slightly different schedule with regard to eating and sleeping, so quite often while they were eating he would be sleeping. After Momiji and the babies joined the rest of the herd Macaroni seemed the most independent and brave, often going off completely on his own in the early days rather than staying near Momiji. Surprisingly he was the baby capybara who was most upset when Momiji went into Toku’s enclosure and the two of them were mating. Macaroni didn’t know what was going on and hated being separated. Between the ages of two weeks and five weeks, while still in the separate enclosure, Macaroni frequently had hiccups.

Little Macaroni being petted by me. Baby capybaras are incredibly cute when they first discover that humans can make them happy by rubbing them in the right places, and not just by feeding them. The look of concentration on their little faces... As they try to get the most out of the pleasurable experience.  私は少しマカロニペット。赤ちゃんカピバラは非常にかわいいです。彼らは人間が適切な場所でそれらをこすって「それらを幸せにすることができることを発見する。 だけではなく、それらを供給することによって。彼らの小さい顔に集中の外観...彼らは楽しい経験を最大限に活用しようとする。

Little Macaroni being petted by me. Baby capybaras are incredibly cute when they first discover that humans can make them happy by rubbing them in the right places, and not just by feeding them. The look of concentration on their little faces… As they try to get the most out of the pleasurable experience. 私は少しマカロニペット。赤ちゃんカピバラは非常にかわいいです。彼らは人間が適切な場所でそれらをこすって「それらを幸せにすることができることを発見する。
だけではなく、それらを供給することによって。彼らの小さい顔に集中の外観…彼らは楽しい経験を最大限に活用しようとする。

When Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni rest together one of them often faces in the opposite direction to keep a lookout for predators.

On August 24th, when the babies were about six weeks old, they were all released into the main enclosure. Momiji took them on a grand tour of the enclosure, which is large with a huge pond. They swam all the way round the pond and then Momiji tried to find them a quiet, resting spot away from the noisy people. First she tried Capuchin Island, but the monkeys came over to harass her. They then settled just outside their old, separate enclosure.

Doughnut and Macaroni Play Fighting.  ドーナツとマカロニ。戦いを演じる

Doughnut and Macaroni Play Fighting. ドーナツとマカロニ。戦いを演じる

During the day Momiji and the babies were in the main enclosure so another female capybara was put in their little enclosure as the Biopark thought it was necessary to have that enclosure occupied. On the first day poor Ayu was trapped here, as she had been the first capybara to enter the enclosure when it was opened in the morning. No doubt she wanted to see little baby Macaroni, from whom she had been separated for six weeks. After a few days Maple and Yasuha were sequestered in this separate enclosure each day to prevent them from attacking Momiji. Yasuha soon learned that if she didn’t want to be separated from the herd she better stop fighting Momiji, but Maple never learned that. All the capybaras hate being separated from the main herd and find it very stressful.

Choco is about to be kissed. I was trying to decipher the look on his face. I think he looks a little sultry.   チョコはキスをする! 幸せそうに見える?わからない。

Choco is about to be kissed. I was trying to decipher the look on his face. I think he looks a little sultry. チョコはキスをする!
幸せそうに見える?わからない。

On that first day in the main enclosure Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni were very wary of the humans, but they wanted the food which the humans were offering. If anyone tried to pet them they quickly darted away. By the second day, those of us who know which areas of the capybaras’ body respond best to petting, were able from time to time to show them just how blissful being petted by a human could be. Within a few days the babies were completely relaxed in the company of even the most noisy and inexperienced capybara visitors.

Interestingly, for the first 10 days or so the babies would not roll over on their backs when they were being petted, no matter how blissful they felt. Presumably they sensed the need to be able to run away quickly should danger present itself. However, once the babies decided they were completely safe in the large enclosure amongst the humans they rolled over whenever they went into that blissful state of ecstasy.

Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni napping with the herd

Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni napping with the herd

Little Macaroni capybara said to his mother Momiji “Why do all the humans want to rub my bottom? It feels very nice and is very enjoyable, but isn’t it rather strange?”

From my diary, August 25th (this was only their second day in the large enclosure amongst the humans) : “I spent about 10 minutes with Little Macaroni today, petting him. He was so sweet and tiny, and so gentle. Marc commented on how fluffy he looked. The babies are still quite nervous of people, but they have quickly learned that humans are a source of food.”

Baby capybaras are born ‘precocial’ which means they are developed when born, covered in hair with their eyes open and able to move normally. Although they suckle for 16 weeks they are able to eat grass etc. almost immediately. Baby capybaras weigh about 2 pounds, roughly 1 kg, at birth.

Capybara Mating Rituals at Nagasaki Bio Park長崎バイオパークのカピバラ交尾  Part One

Momiji has had a very stressful time after giving birth to Choco and Doughnut, and looking after Ayu’s baby Macaroni. Yasuha and Maple have been attacking her, and she is always hungry. Nursing 3 babies is taking a lot out of her and she is a phenomenal mother. If one of the babies wants some milk he just bites her and she immediately stands up so he can suckle. メイトを20回とメープルを得た。1時間で。赤ちゃんの泣き声

On this wet, rainy Sunday she calls repeatedly to Toku. (Toku is the father of her babies). He immediately comes over to the fence separating them. At about 3 PM the keeper decides to let Momiji enter Toku’s enclosure, and Hinase is taken out. Hinase is not very happy about this, being supplanted by Momiji for a romantic engagement. Momiji was very willing and kept adopting the Lordosis position waiting for Toku to mount her. This went on for over an hour and Toku mounted her more than 15 times.

You can hear her babies calling plaintively in the background. They were wondering why they couldn’t get to mummy, and what on earth was Toku doing to her. Choco and Doughnut even tried copying Toku, by mounting each other! At about 2 minutes 30 seconds you can see Momiji’s sister Kaede in the enclosure at the top of the hill, watching.

In a later video you can see that after a while her babies plaintive cries, and the way they are gnawing on the fence begin to upset Momiji. Toku seemed to sense a change in her demeanour and looked concerned, hanging back with a puzzled expression on his face, wondering if he could mount her again. Is there an element of frustration in Toku’s barks?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUDXrnv9B-w

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

Donguri, The Perfect Capybara. どんぐり、パーフェクトカピバラ。

Donguri with her Bedroom Eyes. Her Compelling, Come Hither Look Along with Her Sweet Gentle Nature Attracted All the Males.   色目。カピバラのオスの愛のドングリ

Donguri with her Bedroom Eyes. Her Compelling, Come Hither Look Along with Her Sweet Gentle Nature Attracts All the Males. 色目。カピバラのオスの愛のドングリ

Donguri and I struck up a friendship last year, 2012, on our first visit to the Bio Park. We visited every day for a month and she came to see me as her benefactor in the days when her younger sister Aki ruled over the herd and did her best to make Donguri’s life difficult and uncomfortable. Donguri hates to fight, she is a very wise and peaceful capybara. Despite her lack of aggression she was a natural candidate for number one position in the hierarchy at the Bio Park.   Realising that Donguri was her main rival  Aki frequently intimidated her and made her feel persecuted and uncomfortable. Donguri would just put her head down and wait patiently for Aki to go away, giving a visible sigh of relief once Aki’s threat had passed.

Since Donguri didn’t want to fight she remained outside the Bio Park hierarchy.

Donguri nuzzled by Choco. Her grandson. She absolutely adored it and held her head up expectantly for quite a while after he had walked away

Donguri being nuzzled by baby Choco. Her grandson! She absolutely adored it and held her head up expectantly for quite a while after he had walked away

At watermelon feeding time Donguri would often sit alone, away from the feeding area eating leftover vegetables. She adored sweet watermelon (rodents are addicted to sugar and sweet things) so the threat of Aki’s intimidation must have been a very powerful deterrent for her to avoid joining in the watermelon feast with the other capybaras.  One time I took her a particularly large and juicy piece of watermelon;  she looked up at me with such gratitude in her eyes.  That look of gratitude will stay with me for the rest of my life. I fed her regularly that summer, and I often wondered how she reacted when I suddenly disappeared at the end of August. I think my answer came on our return visit in August 2013.

Donguri being fed by me. She Has Such a Sweet Look On Her Face. 私はどんぐりを養う。甘い、かわいい顔.

Donguri being fed by me. She Has Such a Sweet Look On Her Face. 私はどんぐりを養う。甘い、かわいい顔.

Donguri was very cute when we arrived back in 2013. She completely ignored me and pretended she didn’t know me. Even when I fed her some bamboo she looked away as if I was a complete stranger that she had no interest in. This was my first clue that she knew exactly who I was and that she was playing games with me because I had abandoned her for so long. When other people fed her bamboo she looked at them with a very sweet, grateful twinkle in her eye. By ignoring me when I fed her bamboo she was making a point.   Capybaras are very emotional and jealous and she would certainly resent the fact that I had forsaken her for eleven months.

Then I noticed she was watching me constantly as I petted the other capybaras, which is exactly what she did last summer, making me feel quite guilty that I was being unfaithful to her (anyone who has lived with guinea pigs will know all about rodent jealousy).   So I ignored her for about an hour and then went back towards her. As I approached she looked up at me with a very warm and welcoming expression on her beautiful, loving and captivating face. As I started to pet her, her hair rose and she rolled over. This is quite unusual behaviour for Donguri because last year she did not often respond to being petted. Last summer there were only three or four occasions when Donguri went into that blissful state with her hair raised.

Donguri Being Petted by Me.  ペットどんぐり

Donguri Being Petted by Me. ペットどんぐり

On this occasion her state of bliss lasted much longer than usual, I think she was really pleased to see me again. After I finished petting her she followed us over to the seat where we always sit, and sat down beside it. I bought her a container of pellets and fed them to her one by one. She looked so happy.

“This video was made in July 2015 after Donguri and I hadn’t seen each other for 10 months. I was so pleased she recognised my voice. And I was so happy to see how her hair rose when I knelt down beside her. I am the only person who puts a cushion down to kneel on and the sound of the air being squeezed through the plastic bag reawakened her memories of our happy time together last year in 2014.

Donguri is now the Fifth Oldest capybara in Japan. She was born on September 30, 2005.  She is number one in the Bio Park hierarchy and is the great grandmother, grandmother, or mother of almost all the capybaras at the Biopark and many of the capybaras at other zoos in Japan. She is gentle and wise and avoids aggression unless absolutely necessary. Some capybaras become number one in a hierarchy because they are the most aggressive. In Donguri’s case it was because she is a natural leader, always concerned about the health and well-being of the other capybaras in her herd.

 

It is very bittersweet watching this video now as our visit to the capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park has come to an end. I am very, very sad. I always worry I won’t see Donguri ever again because of her age. She is such a very special capybara and she has taught me so much about capybaras.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA0RPQ4-WRk

 

Sweet, gentle Donguri. The more time I spend with her the more impressed I am by her. She was in a very playful mood that first day, and indeed on many subsequent days. She is easily the most playful capybara at the Bio Park, except for the babies Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni of course. I would not have expected a great grandmother and the oldest capybara by four years to be so playful.

I find it amazing just how playful capybaras can be, especially a great grandmother like Donguri. In this video Donguri swims under Momiji and throws her up out of the pond playfully. This was filmed on the first day that Momiji and the babies were allowed out of their separate enclosure, and entered the main petting enclosure, meeting humans and all the other capybaras for the first time.  I think Donguri was rejoicing in their return to the herd.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFRw2gfptpc

I came to realise she is celebrating her new found freedom and supremacy. At last she can express herself and be completely relaxed, free from the threat of Aki’s aggression. She can indulge in the little luxuries that were denied her before, like rolling in the mud when there is mud. She is so much more relaxed this year, I hadn’t realised what a burden Aki’s presence placed on Donguri’s happiness and liberty.

Donguri Enjoying Herself in the Pond.  どんぐり池を楽しんで

Donguri Enjoying Herself in the Pond. どんぐり池を楽しんで

Donguri notices everything that goes on in the petting enclosure. She takes great interest in what the capybaras are up to and also what the humans are doing. I feel sorry for her that so much of her life is controlled by humans. On one occasion when Donguri went over to visit Toku she was particularly anxious to go inside his enclosure and be with him.  Toku is the Boss Capy, the breeding male and only adult male capybara at the Bio Park; he is in a separate enclosure segregated from the main herd.  Last year, the breeding male, Yasushi, lived amongst the herd and was accessible to all the females, Aki willing, since she didn’t like to share him.

Normally Donguri is a very placid, accepting capybara. If she is confronted by a situation that is not to her liking and she will put her head down and go to sleep and try to forget about it. Whereas the other capybaras express their frustration: they gnaw at the bars of the fence, stand up on their hind legs looking over the top of the fence, walk up and down and call stridently.

This is Donguri in 2012 when Aki was in power. Her demeanour is quite different to how she is now, now that she reigns supreme. Here she is holding her head down in a submissive pose with little expression in her eyes as if she was trying not to attract Aki's attention. Aki was always picking on her and trying to intimidate her, realising that Donguri posed the biggest threat to her supremacy. This year she looks proud and confident, with her very expressive face held high, watching over the herd. It has been quite a transformation. August 2012

This is Donguri in 2012 when Aki was in power. Her demeanour is quite different to how she is now, now that she reigns supreme. Here she is holding her head down in a submissive pose with little expression in her eyes as if she was trying not to attract Aki’s attention. Aki was always picking on her and trying to intimidate her, realising that Donguri posed the biggest threat to her supremacy. This year she looks proud and confident, with her very expressive face held high, watching over the herd. It has been quite a transformation.
August 2012

On this occasion she began to bite the bars of the fence separating her from Toku. I have never, ever seen Donguri biting the bars of a fence before. When she realised the fence would not give way she turned to me and looked up at me with a pleading look in her eyes, asking for my help. She knew humans controlled the entry gate and could give her access. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t explain to her that even though I was a human I did not have the authority to open the gate for her.

This video captures this scene:   http://youtu.be/rvtJAKtnFs8

Donguri Looking so Sweet and Innocent.  甘くて無実

Donguri Looking so Sweet and Innocent. 甘くて無実

Now at last Donguri has taken her rightful position as number one in the female hierarchy at Nagasaki Bio Park. I would love to have been there to see how this came about. I’m certain she would not have resorted to the level of aggression that most capybaras would need, to assert their dominance over the other females. Perhaps like me the other capybaras responded to her magnetism and charisma and sensed her innate leadership qualities, and natural majesty.

どんぐりは私を見て. Donguri looks at me. The other capybaras are looking at Yuzu and Ninjin in their separate enclosure. Probably they have been given something to eat and the hungry capybaras in the main enclosure wonder why they are not getting something to eat as well. By the way they are sitting you would think they are expecting Yuzu or Ninjin to offer them a titbit!

どんぐりは私を見て. Donguri looks at me. The other capybaras are looking at Yuzu and Ninjin in their separate enclosure. Probably they have been given something to eat and the hungry capybaras in the main enclosure wonder why they are not getting something to eat as well.
By the way they are sitting you would think they are expecting Yuzu or Ninjin to offer them a titbit!

I am not surprised at her ascent. Although her younger sister Aki was number one until she died last year, Donguri was always the most important female capybara in the herd. She was very caring and the first to go over and give moral support to any capybara who needed it. There was always something very special about her.

Donguri has a loyal following among the regular visitors to the Bio Park. Early in the morning at weekends a procession of her followers can be seen quietly kneeling beside her ministering to her, massaging her, pampering her and even kissing her. She rolls over in delight and seems to understand that she is a very special capybara.  When I get fed up and depressed by the modern world and the way some humans behave I think of Donguri and watch one of my many videos of her going about her daily life at Nagasaki Bio Park.

Sitting Alone with a Quizzical Look on Her Face.

Sitting Alone with a Quizzical Look on Her Face.

She frequently sits slightly apart from the herd looking very noble and imposing. Sometimes she swims over to Capuchin Island, in the middle of the pond, and sits there, a powerful, engaging and charismatic capybara. She seems to know she is important and I wonder how on earth she survived all those years under Aki’s domination.

Donguri has her very own site on YouTube, where you can see videos of her.  It’s called Capybara Donguri:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpitE3oNtZ_0Ndx2luPbCKg

Donguri always gives succour and comfort to any capybara who has been put in one of the separate enclosures. This year there are four separate enclosures, although Donguri can only reach three of them. Each morning and afternoon she visits the capybaras in each of these enclosures, calling softly as she approaches and then rubbing noses with the captive capybara inside. Then she spends a little while sitting next to their enclosure, nestling up as close to them as she can, trying to make them feel part of the herd and not forgotten. Momiji especially appreciated this when she was nursing her babies and living in a separate enclosure for six weeks. There were many days when she missed the herd, and called and called for them.

Donguri Guarding Momiji's Enclosure. She visited Momiji regularly during the day. Momiji missed the herd and frequently called to them. A film crew spent several days filming the capybaras. On at least 2 occasions they went into Momiji's enclosure and frightened her. After the first intrusion Donguri tried to guard the entrance gate to prevent the film crew entering Momiji's enclosure, but she was rudely pushed away.    Translate from: Lithuanian どんぐりはもみじを訪問

Donguri Guarding Momiji’s Enclosure. She visited Momiji regularly during the day. Momiji missed the herd and frequently called to them. A film crew spent several days filming the capybaras. On at least 2 occasions they went into Momiji’s enclosure and frightened her. After the first intrusion Donguri tried to guard the entrance gate to prevent the film crew entering Momiji’s enclosure, but she was rudely pushed away />どんぐりはもみじを訪問

Sometimes Donguri would make a strange gruff call when she approached Momiji’s or Toku’s enclosure. I never heard her make this call last year, and I wonder if it reflects her new status as matriarch of the herd. I wonder if it might be a protest. “Why can’t I be with my grandchildren”, “I want to be with Toku”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPhgkFPL2mk

I may be right that Donguri is expressing a degree of anger.

One of the people on the cutting edge of today’s research into Animal Communication is Dr. Eugene S. Morton. He specializes in the natural language of mammals and birds. Dr. Morton has developed rules that make it simple to understand animals when they communicate with one another.  After spending more than 20 years studying the sounds made by different animals, Morton has found that many animals use the same types of sounds to convey the same message. For example, if an animal is angry and about to attack, the sound that it usually makes will be harsh and have a low frequency. Though they make different sounds, an unfriendly dog growls, an angry bird squawks, and an angry squirrel chatters, they use the same type of tone. If an animal makes a high-pitched whine, it is usually afraid and is being submissive. Dr. Morton has found a relationship between the tone of an animal sound and the animal’s state of mind. Listen to the conversations between people on the street and you’ll notice this same conclusion can be made for human communication.

It seems that the more humans discover about animal communication, the more we learn about our own methods of communication. Human language may seem much more sophisticated than the communication of a chimpanzee or a barn swallow. Yet, a growing number of researchers are surprised to find out just how similar it is.

When I get fed up and depressed by the modern world and the way some humans behave I think of Donguri and watch one of my many videos of her going about her daily life at Nagasaki Bio Park.

 In this video Donguri wonders why I am always filming her. このビデオでは:なぜあなたはいつも私を撮影?“:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZosnFrDpWho

Donguri and I, A Very Special Capybara. This video was filmed in August 2012 on our first visit to Nagasaki Bio Park:

As leader of the herd Donguri feels responsible for the well-being of all the herd members. She is ever watchful, casting her eye over the herd and keeping abreast of any changes or activities that are taking place in her domain.

Towards the end of our visit to Nagasaki Bio Park in 2014 a very serious fight broke out between two of the capybara pups, Aoba and Cookie. This is a video we made:

Baby Capybaras Fight to the Death Until Donguri Intervenes赤ちゃんカピバラは死に戦います。どんぐりが介在

A very serious fight breaks out between the two babies Aoba and Cookie. Aoba, although younger, is bigger than Cookie and at one point jumps on top of her and looks as if she would like to kill Cookie. Something in Cookie’s squeal alerts Donguri, the leader of the herd, who has been sleeping beside the pond. She instantly jumps up, barks and rushes over to break up the fight. You can see Donguri on the right. Maple, Cookie’s mother, also rushes over (on the left) and looks as if she might attack Aoba. Donguri noses her away and diffuses the situation. Maple, on left, Cookie’s mother, checks up on Cookie. At 17 seconds Momiji, Aoba’s mother arrives and checks up on Cookie. At 26 seconds Yasuha, Donguri’s daughter and number 2 in the hierarchy of the Bio Park herd, shakes her head in dismay at this aggressive behaviour between the youngest members of the herd. Aoba, greedy as ever, goes over to her mother Momiji to suckle! At 40 seconds Momiji checks up on little Cookie again. 38 seconds later Yasuha goes over to check on Cookie who is still in shock. You can see the bite wound just in front of Cookie’s ear. Butter, Cookie’s sister, tries to attack Aoba several times after the fight is over. (On the video I have said it was Cookie, but in fact it was Butter no doubt defending her sister Cookie and upset at the way Aoba attacked her).

After the fight Aoba goes over to Hinase’s babies. They turn away as if they were slightly embarrassed by the fight and don’t want to get involved. Meanwhile Aoba’s mother, Momiji, jumps up onto a bench and sits there aloofly as if she to wants to appear above the fray.

I love this video of Donguri playing with her little son Io in 2012. Video made by Motoko Iwate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pyGztlCmHY&feature=youtu.be

 

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

Poor Momiji Capybara… Being A Mother Capybara Can Be Very Stressful もみじカピバラ…母カピバラは非常にストレス

Poor Momiji. Being a mother capybara can be very stressful. The last two capybaras to give birth at the Biopark have both died.

Momiji and Doughnut

Momiji and Doughnut

On July 12 Momiji gave birth to two baby boys, Choco and Doughnut. Three days later when the keepers arrived at the Capybara enclosure first thing in the morning they were amazed to discover a tiny little baby capybara wandering around amongst the herd. After inspecting all the adult female capybaras they concluded that Ayu was the mother (there was a drop of blood on her bottom). Ayu was not producing any milk so little Macaroni, as he was named, was put into Momiji’s enclosure for her to look after.

In the wild capybara mothers go in for “alloparenting” (communal nursing). This means that all the mothers are happy to suckle any of the babies. So it was quite natural for Momiji to take over mothering Macaroni.

Momiji Nurses Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni on Capuchin Island

Momiji Nurses Choco, Doughnut and Macaroni on Capuchin Island

We spent six weeks visiting the capybaras at Nagasaki Biopark every day… all day. Capybaras are exceptionally intelligent and emotionally very sensitive and sophisticated. They are extremely affectionate and gregarious.    In their behaviour and their relationships they remind me so much of humans. I hope they don’t mind the analogy!

.

 

Momiji

Momiji

On our first day at the Biopark the afternoon was punctuated by a succession of thunderstorms. And it rained heavily… all day.   Capybaras hate rain.

Momiji was in a small enclosure on her own with the babies near the entrance to the main capybara petting enclosure. She had been taken out of the herd some weeks before she gave birth, and she would spend a further six weeks in this separate enclosure after giving birth. This practice is intended to protect her and her babies from any attacks by other capybaras.

Doughnut

Doughnut

But Momiji frequently missed the company and support of the herd. There were days when she called and called and called for the herd. Our first day at the Biopark was one of these days. She found the thunder and lightning deeply unsettling, she hated the rain but most of all she missed the herd. She needed their company and their support in this disturbing and upsetting weather.

Choco, Macaroni and Doughnut on Capuchin Island. September 2013

Choco, Macaroni and Doughnut on Capuchin Island.
September 2013

Donguri, number one in the Biopark hierarchy came to visit her at least twice a day.   She would stay for long periods lying as close as she could get to Momiji, against the fence, or if it was very hot she would stay in the pond adjacent to Momiji’s enclosure, half out of the water with her forepaws resting on the bank, looking at Momiji and softly calling to her.

Donguri Guarding Momiji's Enclosure

Donguri Guarding Momiji’s Enclosure

Donguri is the matriarch of the herd and a very wise and caring capybara. She is the most important capybara in Japan because everyone wants to breed to her in the hopes that her offspring will inherit her exceptional character and personality. This doesn’t always work out!   Kaede, Momiji’s sister, is one of the naughtiest capybaras and has been sent to another zoo, because she was always fighting.   Momiji has also not inherited Donguri’s character;  where Donguri is very calm, Momiji is very restless and intense.   Donguri is Momiji and Kaede’s mother.

Momiji is very intense, she does everything to the best of her ability. She is an exceptional mother always acceding to the demands for milk of her babies, no matter how demanding they are. By contrast Maple frequently refused her babies’, Butter and Cookie, demands for milk. In 2014 Momiji’s baby, Aoba, was the size of a 5 month old when she was only 2 months old, and noticeably larger than Butter and Cookie. She is a wonderful lover, making herself instantly available, and very intense in her lovemaking. Inevitably she is a favourite of all the male capybaras.

On our first day Momiji was very anxious, she felt threatened by the continual thunderstorms. She called the herd again and again throughout the day.

Poor Momiji was also often very hungry. Feeding three babies takes a lot out of any mother. She soon came to see me as her guardian angel and food provider as I had noticed how hungry she was and was concerned about her.   She let out a very cute, soft chuckling sound of gratitude as she started to feed, and looked up at me happily with her soft brown eyes.

The keepers sometimes very kindly gave me extra bamboo, yam plant and pellets to feed her;  Momiji and I were both very grateful.

 

Momiji and Choco Eating Hay. Only the hungriest capybaras ate the hay. In the afternoon the only other food available was the bamboo bought by the visitors. Unfortunately Momiji often missed out on this as people preferred to feed her cute little babies.

Momiji and Choco Eating Hay. Only the hungriest capybaras ate the hay. In the afternoon the only other food available was the bamboo bought by the visitors. Unfortunately Momiji often missed out on this as people preferred to feed her cute little babies.

The feeding mechanism for visitors who wanted to buy pellets and feed Momiji was not very efficient. The Biopark does not like visitors to hand feed the capybaras so in Momiji’s enclosure you had to drop the pellets down a long tube. Unfortunately the tube frequently became detached at the entrance point to the enclosure so many of the pellets fell outside her enclosure (towards the end of our visit this was remedied). However even then those pellets that did make their way into her enclosure frequently bounced off the receptacle that was their intended destination and ended up on the floor of the enclosure. Anyone who has ever fed pellets to a capybara will have discovered that capybaras do not find it easy to locate pellets that have fallen on the ground.

Momiji and The Babies Share Bamboo

Momiji and The Babies Share Bamboo

To get round this I hand fed Momiji through the bars of the fence. She soon came to recognise my smell.   Later on when she was released into the main petting enclosure she continued to view me as her friend and provider. As she was usually hungry she would come over to me pointing her nose up at me and sticking her  little pink tongue out hoping for a food reward. She had cleverly learnt that humans love to see cute little pink capybara tongues, and by sticking her cute tongue out she was able to encourage visitors to give her extra food rewards.

Momiji Sticks Her Tongue out at Marc

Momiji Sticks Her Tongue out at Marc

She would often come and sit behind us with her babies when the petting enclosure was full of people.

From my diary, Friday, September 6: At breakfast only four troughs are used. There were nine troughs available, although frequently fewer than nine were used.   Using fewer troughs leads to more competion for the food, and a lot of extra agonistic behaviour, conflict and fighting.

Macaroni is pushed into the pond, Momiji gets hardly anything to eat. Even Maple is now challenging Momiji for her position in the hierarchy. Poor Momiji went from trough to trough getting pushed away. Even Donguri tried to nip her and gnashed her teeth.

I asked if I could pick up some pellets which had fallen on the path, and give them to Momiji to eat. I was told “No”.  I was in tears. I had only asked because I was certain the answer would be “Yes”.   It made no sense that I couldn’t give the pellets to a very hungry capybara who was nursing 3 baby capybaras and desperately needed more to eat. Later when no one was looking I gathered up all the pellets that I could find on the path and gave them to her. Then I moved the trough so she could eat the pellets that were hidden underneath.

 

Momiji

Momiji

Another clever little strategy Momiji had worked out was to jump up onto a bench and sit there looking so endearing and expectant. This immediately brought her to the attention of visitors and made her stand out as a very attractive and lovable capybara to feed. She frequently came and sat on the bench beside us, and on one occasion she was so hungry that as soon as I put a pellet in my hand she jumped in my lap!

Momiji and Doughnut

Momiji and Doughnut

When Momiji suckled her babies she went into a trance like state. Her eyes would glaze over, and she made this beautiful, quite magical sound and her nose vibrated. On several occasions when she was suckling/nursing she looked a little restless and uncomfortable, shifting her weight from foot to foot as if she would rather be doing something else. After a short while she would go into this trancelike state and from then on she was happy to stand there forever, well for at least 12 minutes.

“Momiji Suckling Baby Capybaras. Beautiful Vocalisation, Nose Vibrates”:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2M63phyWmo

The sound quality is better in this video, but the video is only in close-up of Momiji’s head (the close-up is in order to improve the sound quality). “Capybara Momiji Beautiful Vocalisation As She Suckles”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnoD08LKtko

She won my heart… The way she looked to me for nourishment and protection.  She was just such a wonderful mother always putting the needs of her babies first.

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

Pet Capybara Pool Size. What Size Pool Does My Capybara Need?

Romeo and Tuff'n Playing at the Bottom of Their Pool

Romeo and Tuff’n Playing at the Bottom of Their Pool

A recommended minimum size of pool/pond is 9 ft x 16 ft with a depth of 4 ft. The pool or pond should have a few shallow places where the capybara can sit and rest while still remaining mostly or partly submerged. If your pool does not have any steps or ledges that would provide this, you should put something like a plastic table in the pool for the capybara to sit on. Make sure it is securely anchored and does not tip over when the capybara climbs onto it.

Romeo Rests on the Swimming Pool Steps

Romeo Rests on the Swimming Pool Steps

A large, 8 foot, cattle tank is not sufficient, many people would say . There is no way a capybara can swim properly in something this small. And of course it is not very deep either.

Capybaras are outstanding swimmers and need a pool/pond that is at least 4 feet deep. They love to swim underwater and are very playful, rolling and turning. Capybaras can stay under water for up to 5 minutes.

Yasushi Loves Being Nuzzled. He and his female admirers at Nagasaki Bio Park have a huge pond to play in.

Yasushi Loves Being Nuzzled. He and his female admirers at Nagasaki Bio Park have a huge pond to play in.

In the wild capybaras spend much of the afternoon in water. Submerging in water is a way for them to thermoregulate, i.e. cool themselves.

Capybaras are very agile and graceful in water. A cattle tank is not big enough to allow them to express themselves physically and aquatically, as they would in the wild.   It is a wonderful sight watching a capybara swim, and roll, and play with gay abandon.


Little Tuff'n Gains an Advantage over Bigger Romeo By Standing on the Step above Him

Little Tuff’n Gains an Advantage over Bigger Romeo By Standing on the Step above Him

Please see my blog which gives information about the dangers to capybaras of letting capybaras use your swimming pool. I also give information about a recommended filter system to use to clean the water in your swimming pool.  It is recommended that you do not use chlorine.

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/pet-capybara-health-warning-it-might-be-potentially-dangerous-to-let-your-capybara-swim-in-a-chlorinated-swimming-pool-designed-and-intended-for-human-use/

This is a video of Romeo and Tuff’n playing in their swimming pool, you will see how they really make use of, and enjoy, the space available to them:

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

“Who Stole our Pond?” 長崎バイオパークのカピバラ池は空っぽ。それは珍しい光景 A Very Rare Sight: The Capybaras’ Pond at Nagasaki Bio Park Is Empty, No Water.

 

Inspector Donguri Surveys the Scene from Capuchin Island.   インスペクタどんぐりはカプチン島からシーンを調査

Inspector Donguri Surveys the Scene from Capuchin Island. インスペクタどんぐりはカプチン島からシーンを調査

 

The time has come to clean the pond in the capybara enclosure at Nagasaki Bio Park. It is Thursday, September 12, 2013. The pond has been drained and a team of keepers and senior management at the Biopark is hard at work scrubbing the floor of the pond. A mountain of silt has been washed down the hillside into the pond. This will all have to be removed.

カピバラ世界。日本語版。写真 Capybara world  Japanese version.  このブログの一部を日本語に翻訳が含まれています。 Includes translation into Japanese of part of this blog.

浩二アンダーソンによるビデオや音楽  Video and music by Koji Anderson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bThwl6vGPfc

どんぐりがかかっている。アユは排便。若いカピバラは島のおやつを持っています。   Donguri Takes a Well Earned Rest. Ayu Makes Sure the Pond Doesn't Remain Too Sanitary! Some of the Younger Capybaras Take Time out to Snack on Capuchin Island.

どんぐりがかかっている。アユは排便。若いカピバラは島のおやつを持っています。 Donguri Takes a Well Earned Rest. Ayu Makes Sure the Pond Doesn’t Remain Too Sanitary! Some of the Younger Capybaras Take Time out to Snack on Capuchin Island.

The men start early in the morning. It will be a hard day’s work. All the fish are removed from the pond and put in a separate tank. One large, recalcitrant fish jumps out of the tank and has to be rescued by Marc.

Donguri, the most important capybara at the Bio Park and possibly the most important capybara in Japan, is in charge of overseeing operations. During the day she takes up various prominent positions to observe progress and make sure the cleaning is being done to her satisfaction.

インスペクタどんぐり   Inspector Donguri

インスペクタどんぐり Inspector Donguri

She starts the day with an extended roll in the mud by the fish tank. When she is completely covered in mud she wanders around looking faintly otherworldly. She rubs against her young deputy, Syu (Aki’s son, the only male in the main herd, and now 11 months old). Syu is a sweet, very gentle and loving capybara.  He now wanders around with a muddy face. Is mud the badge of officialdom?

Syu

泥だらけの顔 警視 Muddy Deputy Inspector Syu

Donguri is supported by her team of capybara inspectors. They make regular forays into the empty pond to inspect the pond floor at close quarters.

チョコと秋は、ツールを検査します。彼らは適切なのですか? Choco and Autumn Inspect the Tools To Make Sure They Are up to the Job.

チョコと秋は、ツールを検査します。彼らは適切なのですか? Choco and Autumn Inspect the Tools To Make Sure They Are up to the Job.

ここで池掃除のビデオです。インスペクタどんぐり監修。そして、すべてのカピバ:

 This is a video we made of the day’s activities:

http://youtu.be/36ldlwZWLGM

なぜ長時間労働を取る?とても遅い。   Why are The Humans Taking so Long? Donguri is in The Middle of Her Exceptionally Patient Team.

なぜ長時間労働を取る?とても遅い。 Why are The Humans Taking so Long? Donguri is in The Middle of Her Exceptionally Patient Team.

Extra food has been put out for the capybaras to give them the necessary energy for their arduous day’s work.

When the capybaras are not hard at work scrutinising the bottom of the pond, they nap and eat.

人間を監督。これは退屈だ!  Supervising Humans Can Be so Boring!

人間を監督。これは退屈だ! 右側のどんぐり。後ろに座って。 Supervising Humans Can Be so Boring! That is Donguri sitting down at the back on the right.

From time to time Chief Inspector Donguri rolls around in the puddles to make sure everything is to her liking.

どんぐりは緩和。ローリング.   Donguri Relaxes, Rolling.

どんぐりは緩和。ローリング. Donguri Relaxes, Rolling.

Just before lunch there is high drama. Momiji and her babies were the first to explore the pond floor, as Momiji tried to find a safe refuge for them. She found the mayhem of this unusual day disturbing.  Strange and possibly threatening activities were going on. She explored all the usual safe havens to see if there was water she could hide in, but there was not.

もみじ、チョコ、ドーナツとマカロニ。空の池を入力する最初の。   Momiji and The Babies Are First Into the Empty Pond. Momiji is Perturbed by the Day's Activities and Goes to Investigate the Capybaras Usual Boltholes.

もみじ、チョコ、ドーナツとマカロニ。空の池を入力する最初の。 Momiji and The Babies Are First Into the Empty Pond. Momiji is Perturbed by the Day’s Activities and Goes to Investigate the Capybaras Usual Boltholes.

She then decided to jump out of the pond at a point which required a two foot leap. little Macaroni managed to follow her, but try as they might Choco and Doughnut just did not have the strength to leap that high. Time and again they hurled themselves into the air, their little forelegs flailing against the rocks, only to come crashing down. It was heartbreaking to watch. There was a real chance that one of the babies might break its leg landing awkwardly. The legs of baby capybaras are very fragile.

もみじは池のうち2フィートをジャンプします。小さなドーナツも2フィートをジャンプします。しかし、チョコとマカロニ。それは高すぎる。行うことはできません。   Momiji Leaps 2 Feet Out Of the Empty Pond. Amazingly, Doughnut Manages This Feat Twice, Despite His Tiny Size.

もみじは池のうち2フィートをジャンプします。小さなドーナツも2フィートをジャンプします。しかし、チョコとマカロニ。それは高すぎる。行うことはできません。 Momiji Leaps 2 Feet Out Of the Empty Pond. Amazingly, Macaroni Manages This Feat Twice, Despite His Tiny Size.

I couldn’t understand why none of the keepers didn’t lift the baby capybaras out. The keepers were only three feet away from the drama, scrubbing the pond floor.  Perhaps this is an example of how Eastern and Western sensibilities about animals sometimes differ;  but I have seen many examples of people in the West being indifferent to animal suffering, even among people who claim to be animal lovers.  Please don’t cast blame…here…

Marc said I shouldn’t interfere…

Eventually, Choco and Doughnut gave up and called plaintively from the pond floor. Momiji and Macaroni had no choice but to rejoin them in the empty pond.

Fortunately this happened just before the lunch break. While the keepers were gone I bought some bamboo and managed to lure Momiji and the babies out of the pond on the opposite side, where there were stepping stones that made it easier for Choco and Doughnut to climb to safety. I think it’s very important in a herd of capybaras to keep stress to a minimum. And this was an exceedingly stressful situation for Momiji and the baby capybaras.   Stress leads to conflict and there was already too much conflict in the herd this year.

In the afternoon a team of female keepers takes over for a while.

チョコは:"人間は何をしている?"   Choco Wonders What On Earth Is Going On.  What Are the Humans Doing Now!

チョコは:”人間は何をしている?” Doughnut Wonders What On Earth Is Going On. “What Are the Humans Doing Now!”

New branches have to be cut, resplendent with leaves, to replace the bare tree trunks on Capuchin Island. The afternoon before, the monkeys were rounded up and locked away in their house. The two cleverest monkeys eluded the keepers for most of the afternoon. As I left the capybara enclosure on Wednesday afternoon loud protests could be heard emanating from the monkey house.   Unable to swim, the monkeys normally cannot leave Capuchin Island. They behave like a teenage gang of semi-educated truants; their behaviour reminds me so much of gangland teenage youths.

New Leafy Branches 新しい葉枝が選ばれています。オマキザルの島のために.  Are Chosen to Replace the Old Ones on Capuchin Island.

新しい葉枝が選ばれています。オマキザルの島のために. New Leafy Branches Are Chosen to Replace the Old Ones on Capuchin Island.

金は新しい枝の品質をチェック.   Kin Checks The Quality of the New Branches.

金は新しい枝の品質をチェック. Kin Checks The Quality of the New Branches.

One of their favourite activities is to harass the capybaras. They hang around just out of reach making annoying noises, plotting an attack. One ‘youth’ monkey will run up behind a capybara, reach out and pinch its bottom, and then run away. When Momiji is on the island the monkeys keep their distance. This ever vigilant, iconically outstanding mother will attack the monkeys if they get too close to her babies. From time to time the harassment escalates and the monkeys run the capybaras off the island.

検査チームは懸命に働く.   The Inspection Team Hard at Work.

検査チームは懸命に働く. 島のモンキーハウス。木で作ら。 The Inspection Team Hard at Work. You can see The Monkey House, The Wooden Structure on the Island.

By 4 PM work is finished. Chief Inspector Donguri makes one last inspection tour, followed by her team. She then leaps two feet out of the pond with amazing agility. She is a large capybara, the largest by far at the Bio Park, and she looks a trifle ungainly sometimes when she walks on land. This is obviously an illusion, for it turns out she is supremely athletic and powerful.

検査が終了しました。どんぐりは素晴らしい敏捷でジャンプします。   Donguri and The Team Have Finished Their Inspection. Donguri Jumps out with Amazing Agility.

検査が終了しました。どんぐりは素晴らしい敏捷でジャンプします。 Donguri and The Team Have Finished Their Inspection. Donguri Jumps out with Amazing Agility.

Then the pond is slowly refilled with freshwater from the nearby Nakayama River. The thick green water, impenetrable to the human eye, is replaced with a palish brown liquid. For the first time I can see the beautiful and agile movements of the capybaras as they swim and play in the pond. Donguri is particularly graceful and surprisingly agile for a capybara her age. She will be 9 on September 30 (2013).

It has been a tiring day for the capybaras. The capybaras will all sleep well tonight.

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//

//