“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

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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:

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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

 

 

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Marvin and Elizabeth have asked me to write this blog to warn people who live with capybaras of the  potential health risks to a capybara if he or she is swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool primarily designed for human use.

The first danger is from the chemicals used to chlorinate the water in the pool and kill off dangerous bacteria.  Chlorine can be harmful to capybaras in a number of different ways.  Therefore the amount of chlorine used should be kept to the lowest possible level; see information below.

The second danger is that the water in the swimming pool may not be sufficiently fresh and pure.

The dangers are compounded by the effects of evaporation wherein the concentration of chemicals and impurities builds up over time. This is called an Accumulative Effect.

One capybara became listless and weak as a result of swimming in a chlorinated pool. He lost his appetite and blood began to trickle from his nose. The vet diagnosed chlorine in the swimming pool as being responsible for his deteriorating condition. He made a fairly rapid recovery once he stopped swimming in chlorine.

A capybara will drink the water in the swimming pool thereby imbibing any toxins and chemicals that might be harmful. The chemicals which are designed to kill off the dangerous bacteria in the pool water may also kill off the beneficial bacteria in the capybaras’ gut leading to digestive problems.

In the case of Romeo and Tuff’n, Marvin and Elizabeth were finding that they had to resort to giving the capybaras Bene-Bac on an increasingly frequent basis. Marvin and Elizabeth monitor Romeo and Tuff’n’s stools to assess their health. If the stools are individual, capsulated olives, that is a good sign. If the stools become softer and sausage shaped this could be a sign of potential ill health.

In Marvin’s words: “we were inadvertently slowly poisoning Romeo and Tuff’n”.

Romeo and Tuff’n never defecate in the swimming pool.

021 used in blog swimming pool health risks

Marvin and Elizabeth have resolved the problem to their satisfaction by completely draining the swimming pool and installing the following two pool filter systems, which are designed to destroy bacteria and control algae using a formula that is low in chlorine, relying on minerals instead:

The Name of this filter is Nature 2 SP http://www.zodiacpoolsystems.com/

The Name of this filter is Pool RX Mineral Unit:   http://www.poolrx.com/

They will also be draining the swimming pool once a year in order to ensure that the pool water is reasonably fresh.

The cost of the filters is approximately $150. The cost of changing the water in your swimming pool once a year is unlikely to be more than $100, I am told.

Marvin tells me that before they switched to the new water filtering system and changed the water in the swimming pool, which he reckons was several years old, Romeo and Tuff’n had not been feeling particularly well and their tummies were swollen. This effect was most noticeable on a Monday, as Romeo and Tuff’n spend more time in the swimming pool over the weekends. Romeo’s skin had become dry and flaky and he was scratching more often than any other capybara I have seen. Now their skin and fur is back to normal, as are their poohs.

Romeo is about to jump into the pool. You can see the little turds (faeces) he has left behind beside the pool to mark his watering hole.

Romeo is about to jump into the pool. You can see the little turds (faeces) he has left behind beside the pool to mark his watering hole. Romeo and Tuff’n never defecate in the swimming 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 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.

A large, 8 foot, cattle tank is not sufficiently large, many people would say.

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.

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.

If the capybaras have a dedicated pool and are not swimming in the pool that they share with the humans, the following information might be useful:

One friend on the East Coast who has two capybaras, gave me the following information:  “Chlorine isn’t great for anyone’s health but it’s better than fecal contamination. Zoos use it in the marine mammal pools and possibly also in the bears’ pool and in some other animals’ pools.  Public swimming pools are supposed to be kept at 3 parts chlorine per million, and this is the recommended level for home pools. Because our capybaras use their pool so often and also drink the water in it, we aim for 1 ppm and we change the water about once a month. We also do not use a floating chlorine tab, like most home pools use. We pour in chlorine (ie. we ‘shock’ the pool) as we think the pool needs it (this is usually done overnight to allow time for the pool to be sanitized and for the chemicals to dissipate), using the filter pump to circulate the chemicals. The capybaras are not allowed back into the pool until the chlorine isn’t as strong. If the capybaras are not defecating in their pool (they rarely defecate in the pool but very occasionally they do) then we barely treat the pool. Just enough to compensate for skin and body oil contamination. During the summer, with algae and pooh and heat, we practically treat every night. However we don’t stabilize the chlorine, so much of that will dissipate into the atmosphere (chlorine that binds with contaminates will stay in the pool and build up). We also have the cattle trough which they use and it only has fresh water. It is pretty standard practice in the summer, to see them leave the pool and go rinse off in the fresh water.  The reason the capybaras rinse in the fresh water may have as much to do with the pH level in the water, as with the chlorine level.

Here is some information about the size of pool a capybara needs:

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

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Neutering a Pet Capybara. Tuff’n’s Story: “Who Stole My Testicles”. ペットのカピバラを去勢. リトルTuff’n彼の睾丸を失い。Tuff’nの物語: “誰が私の睾丸を盗んだ”

The time had come for little Tuff’n to be neutered.

"Where Have They Gone, Who's Taken Them?"

“Where Have They Gone, Who’s Taken Them?”

Anyone contemplating getting a male baby capybara needs to know that they may well have to neuter their beloved friend and this can be a horrible, very painful experience for the little capybara. It can also be costly at around $600.

Many male capybaras become aggressive as they mature and their testosterone levels rise. The norm appears to be for this to happen at about six months, but it can happen as early as 4 1/2 months of age.

Tuff'n Recovers after His Neutering

Tuff’n Recovers after His Neutering

Romeo had a very miserable experience with his neutering and it was a full month before he was back to normal. The use of his hind legs was affected and he had difficulty walking.  Watching him suffer was almost more than Marvin and Elizabeth could bear.

Romeo Is a Very Sensitive, Highly Strung Capybara. Memories of his own experience in this recovery room were too much for him.

Romeo Is a Very Sensitive, Highly Strung Capybara. Memories of his own experience in this recovery room were too much for him.

One reason why Romeo suffered so much more than Tuff’n may have been because Romeo was the first capybara the vet had neutered, and there was a degree of bruising around one of his former testicles, presumably the first testicle to be removed. This area also developed an infection some days later; normally the vet would include an antibiotic as part of the neutering regime, but because capybaras are so sensitive to drugs this was not done in the hopes that it would not be needed. In this case, had he been given an antibiotic he might not have developed the infection. Romeo was also given one extra drug that Tuff’n did not get, as the vet refined the neutering process.

Tuff'n Waiting for His Horrible Operation

Tuff’n Waiting for His Horrible Operation

Romeo and Tuff’n had become close friends… Tuff’n follows Romeo almost everywhere. Male capybaras, with their intrinsic herd hierarchy, are notorious for not getting along, leading to fights and injuries, as they challenge each other for supremacy in the herd. Marvin and Elizabeth could not let a rambunctious, testosterone fuelled Tuff’n destroy this harmonious relationship. Already Tuff’n’s behaviour was changing.  Each day, several times a day, his hormones kicked in and he would try and copulate with any appendage, Marvin’s arm being a favourite.

On several occasions a flying Tuff’n landed on Romeo’s head, attempting to copulate with Romeo’s aristocratic nose. Romeo did not look appreciative!   Tuff’n even tried to copulate with the back of my head on one occasion. Romeo frequently sniffed Tuff’n’s bottom and must have been aware of the changes that were taking place in Tuff’n’s body, and in his demeanour and behaviour.

Tuff'n's Pretty Pink Testicles!   It's such a pity they had to go

Tuff’n’s Pretty Pink Testicles! It’s such a pity they had to go

A date was set with the best vet in Las Vegas, David R Mason, B. Vet. Med, MRCVS, DACVS, DECVS, who trained at Imperial College London, and practices at the LVVSC (Las Vegas Veterinary Speciality Centre).

The house was prepared for Tuff’n’s sad arrival home. The bed was taken out of the bedroom and replaced with a 2 inch high foam mattress that would allow little Tuff’n to clamber in and out of bed without trauma. A potty pan was put in the bedroom. A tarpaulin was put on the floor in case of any accidents, as it was expected that Tuff’n would also find it difficult to use his hind legs and might not reach the potty pan in time. Elizabeth and Marvin spent a sleepless night. Marvin had to go to work so Marc and I arranged to meet Elizabeth at the vets to give her both moral and physical support.

Romeo Went along to Give Little Tuff'n Moral Support!

Romeo Went along to Give Little Tuff’n Moral Support!

Romeo went along to give Tuff’n moral support. When he entered the reception area at the vets he was greeted by adoring nurses who remembered him from his two previous visits. He loved the attention and adoration and kissed at least one of the nurses.

However, when we were shown into the recovery room where Tuff’n would be sedated and to which he would return after his operation, Romeo panicked. Memories of his two previous visits and the accompanying pain and suffering came flooding back. He completely freaked out and rushed under a chair, in a feverish state, to hide, followed by Tuff’n who was now also panicking; so much for Romeo being a source of comfort to Tuff’n! Romeo next jumped onto the chair next to Elizabeth and then into her lap. Marc was dispatched to the car to get Romeo’s favourite blanket while Elizabeth did her best to soothe him. Once Romeo was wrapped in his blanket with his head covered he began to relax a little bit. Now that nobody could see him he felt safe. After all if nobody could see him how could he possibly be operated on!

Little Tuff'n Looking Slightly Out Of It

Little Tuff’n Looking Slightly Out Of It

Elizabeth’s hands were now full!   Tuff’n was retrieved from under the chair by the nurse and given an injection to sedate him. The nurse said she would return in 5 minutes to collect little Tuff’n. The worst part was watching little Tuff’n lying on the floor completely still and lifeless, his good eye wide open. What if something went wrong and he never regained consciousness. It was a thought too much to bear.

Little Tuff'n lies unconscious on his blanket on the floor, his good eye wide open, completely lifeless. What if he never regains consciousness....

Little Tuff’n lies unconscious on his blanket on the floor, his good eye wide open, completely lifeless. What if he never regains consciousness….

Once Tuff’n had been taken into the operating room, we took Romeo to a park to graze. I had expected him to be concerned about Tuff’n and worried by his absence since Romeo and Tuff’n always go to the park together to graze. But Romeo betrayed no concern at all, on the contrary he seemed rather pleased to be an “only” capybara again, the centre of everyone’s love and attention. I don’t mean this as criticism of Romeo at all, because he is the most wonderful and thoughtful capybara. Perhaps he was simply relieved to have left the vet’s premises, and was reassured that no scalpels would be going anywhere near him.

In Happier Times

In Happier Times

After about an hour we returned to the doctor’s surgery to collect Tuff’n. While Elizabeth drove home I sat in the back seat with Tuff’n on my lap. His overriding desire was to bite me, perhaps in retaliation for what another human had just inflicted on him. In reality he was probably only trying to nibble me. Capybaras frequently nibble each other as a sign of affection. I felt so sorry for him.

You can see the very neat incisions where Tuff'n's Little Testicles Used to Be. Little Tuff'n Was Rolling on the Floor in Some Pain

You can see the very neat incisions where Tuff’n’s Little Testicles Used to Be.
Little Tuff’n Was Rolling on the Floor in Some Pain

On returning home Tuff’n recovered much more quickly than Romeo. It is interesting to remember his reaction to his horrific birthing injuries, which left him with the loss of his right eye, the ear flap on his right ear and a horrendous cut that went right down to his bone, leaving the bone exposed.   Despite these injuries, Tuff’n ate and played with the other newborn baby capybaras as though nothing had happened.

Romeo looks to Elizabeth for Protection and Reassurance. Why have we come back to visit the vet?

Romeo looks to Elizabeth for Protection and Reassurance: “Why have we come back to visit the vet?”

He was able to walk slowly but normally as soon as he arrived home following the neutering operation. He made an early visit to the potty pan and was able to squat properly despite the recent invasive surgery to this region of his anatomy. Elizabeth massaged him and petted him. He even managed to “sing” his loud happy vocalisations and to go into that blissful state with his hair raised, all within an hour of returning home. You can see why he was given the name Tuff’n, short for “Tough One”.

Poor Little Tuff'n Looking Very Sorry for Himself

Poor Little Tuff’n Looking Very Sorry for Himself

Tuff’n is the only capybara I have heard of who has not suffered unbearably after being neutered.

Tuff'n Valiantly Follows Romeo to the Far End of the House

Tuff’n Valiantly Follows Romeo to the Far End of the House

In the hours and days that followed Romeo frequently sniffed Tuff’n’s bottom to assess the situation. He seemed satisfied and relieved that Tuff’n would no longer pose a threat, and that he Romeo was not the only capybara to have gone through this dreadful operation.

Tuff'n Rolling on the Floor in Pain after His Horrible Operation

Tuff’n Rolling on the Floor in Pain after His Horrible Operation

It breaks Marvin and Elizabeth’s hearts to have to neuter their capybaras. Romeo is such an outstanding male capybara, Elizabeth and Marvin would love to have seen these exceptional genes carried on into future generations. It is against all their values to have to do this to their beloved male capybaras. But Romeo, on several occasions, metamorphosed into a different animal in a testosterone fuelled haze of aggression towards Marvin, his rival as number one in their herd hierarchy. This aggression also coincided with the arrival of cutest baby Tuff’n, a rival for the affections of Elizabeth and Marvin. Up to now Romeo had experienced their undivided love for him, and he knew that would change with Tuff’n’s arrival. There was nothing mean or unpleasant about Romeo’s aggression, he was just acting according to nature. Once the aggressive state had passed, during which he seemed like a capybara possessed by an external force, Romeo returned to being his usual very sweet affectionate self.

The bill for Tuff'n's neutering came to over $600. For Romeo's neutering it was over $700

The bill for Tuff’n’s neutering came to over $600. For Romeo’s neutering it was over $700

Videos of Tuff’n:

Tuff’n Capybara Has To Be Neutered カピバラは、去勢されている必要があり

Tuff’n is six months old and beginning to experience the onset of his “manhood”. He has become quite rambunctious and as his testosterone levels surge he wants to copulate with anything that looks even slightly inviting! A human arm will do, he even took a flying leap landing on Romeo’s nose! Poor Romeo looked quite put out. Tuff’n loves to nibble as he mock copulates.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Goq78iI-xcw

Little Tuff’n recovers very quickly from his neutering operation, unlike Romeo who suffered several days of excruciating pain and misery. Elizabeth massages him, and much to my amazement he is singing his little happy vocalisations soon after he arrives home. He even goes briefly into that blissful state with his hair raised. He is an amazing little capybara.

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

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How to Look after a Pet Capybara – The Capybaras Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know

                                                                    What I Have Learned About Keeping a Capybara Happy and Healthy, Emotionally and Physically, From People Who Live with Capybaras

A very special capybara. I wish all humans were as thoughtful and loving as Romeo.

A very special capybara. I wish all humans were as thoughtful and loving as Romeo.

You may think that a capybara is an incredibly cute, cuddly animal who would enrich your life immeasurably, but have you given a great deal of in-depth thought to the happiness of your future pet? Having a capybara in your home is not at all like having a pet dog or cat.  Dogs and cats have been domesticated over more than 20,000 years, possibly for as long as 35,000 years according to the latest research, during which time they have adapted to living with humans. This is not true of a capybara.

 

Possibly the Cutest Capybara in the World. Little Tuff'n, Aged about Three Months. He lost his eye and part of his ear in an horrendous, mystery accident shortly after he was born and before his breeder found him. Amazingly it didn't seem to affect him at all, he was as playful and hungry as the other baby capybaras, and nowadays he is completely fearless and very mischievous.

Possibly the Cutest Capybara in the World. Little Tuff’n, Aged about Three Months. He lost his eye and part of his ear in an horrendous, mystery accident shortly after he was born and before his breeder found him. Amazingly it didn’t seem to affect him at all, he was as playful and hungry as the other baby capybaras, and nowadays he is completely fearless and very mischievous.

The capybara is not there to entertain you, animals are not entertainment. They are living creatures who have feelings and emotions. The capybara did not ask to come and live with you, its happiness is in your hands and that should be your first consideration. You will have to make sacrifices in your life to ensure the happiness of your pet capybara – are you prepared to make the sacrifices, most people are not?

You can see and feel how much Marvin loves Romeo in this video:

Romeo Capybara ” Feel the Love” ロミオカピバラはあまり愛されている    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON-WoauTmp4

Capybaras are particularly sophisticated emotionally and very needy. As they are herd animals they should never be left alone. A capybara on its own in the wild could be in mortal danger from predators. Leaving your pet capybara on its own will evoke fear and anxiety, a response which has evolved over 30 million years.

Capybaras at Telêmaco Borba, in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil.  In the Wild a Capybara Would Never Be on Its Own. They are incredibly social animals and very playful, they love to interact with each other.  Photo by Luciana Nakai

Capybaras at Telêmaco Borba, in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil. In the Wild a Capybara Would Never Be on Its Own. They are incredibly social animals and very playful, they love to interact with each other. Photo by Luciana Nakai

In the Wild a Capybara Would Never Be on Its Own. They are incredibly social animals and very playful, they love to interact with each other. In this photo the baby capybaras are playing with a female member of the herd, not their mother. She is in a blissful, Pouffy state as they clamber all over her and nibble her under the chin. (Capybaras love being petted and nibbled under the chin, and baby capybaras seem to know this. Ears are another favoured nibbling spot.) Photo by Mahia Minteguiaga

In the Wild a Capybara Would Never Be on Its Own. They are incredibly social animals and very playful, they love to interact with each other. In this photo the baby capybaras are playing with a female member of the herd, not their mother. She is in a blissful state as they clamber all over her and nibble her under the chin. (Capybaras love being petted and nibbled under the chin, and baby capybaras seem to know this. Ears are another favoured nibbling spot.) Photo by Mahia Minteguiaga

 

Capybaras do not make good house pets. It is natural for a capybara to mark its territory with urine or faeces. Most people would not want to spend much of the day mopping up urine from the floors of their home. Elizabeth and Marvin have removed all the carpets and most of the furniture to create a capybara friendly environment in their home. Very few people would make the sacrifice. It is utterly wrong to punish a capybara when it marks its territory with urine or faeces in the home as it is behaving quite naturally.

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Here are two things you should know about the natural lifestyle of a capybara which make them unsuitable as house pets: (research into rodent behaviour has identified these two traits which I have also observed in capybaras. Firstly, capybaras like to be in control of their lives. This makes them quite different from dogs who will adapt their behaviour to please you. Not many people want a pet that very often will not do what you want it to do.

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Secondly, marking their territory is an essential part of capybara behaviour. Leaving a trail of urine where ever they go is a normal social courtesy. Their urine is like a signature. It contains chemical information that communicates an individual’s sex and social status. A capybara’s urine also allows other capybaras to discern genetic relatedness, a process which may have evolved to avoid inbreeding. There is even evidence that female mice can discriminate the degree of parasite infestation in males based on the smell of their urine, and that this may in turn influence females mating preferences

Tuff'n sleeping on his bed of hay in the living room. Romeo and Tuff'n never chew on the furnishings because they always have hay or guinea pig pellets to chew on in their home. The hay has the most beautiful, refreshing smell. Tuff'n likes to toss the bale of hay around and make himself a comfortable bed. Tuff'n lives with Romeo, Elizabeth Ojeda-Reeder Romeo-Tuffn and Marvin. リビングルームの干し草の上に眠ります。決して家具を食べません。自身の快適なベッドを作成します。トス乾草

Tuff’n sleeping on his bed of hay in the living room. Romeo and Tuff’n never chew on the furnishings because they always have hay or guinea pig pellets to chew on in their home. The hay has the most beautiful, refreshing smell. Tuff’n likes to toss the bale of hay around and make himself a comfortable bed. Tuff’n lives with Romeo, Elizabeth Ojeda-Reeder Romeo-Tuffn and Marvin. リビングルームの干し草の上に眠ります。決して家具を食べません。自身の快適なベッドを作成します。トス乾草

If you are going to keep a capybara as a house pet I believe it is essential  to treat it as a friend and member of the family. When the baby capybara first arrives treat it as if it was one of your own young children.  Love it and discipline it,  teach it and bring it up with the loving you would give if it was one of your children. Talk to it as you would your own child, explain things to it, reason with it, praise it and ask it what it wants. Capybaras are highly intelligent and very sophisticated emotionally. They may not understand every word, but they will understand the emotions you are conveying, and with time and repitition they will understand what you want them to do, and most importantly they will learn right from wrong, and they will understand right and wrong. And if they feel like it some of the time  they may try to please you.

Capybaras need sun. I have just learned about a young capybara who was kept inside the home in an enclosure. He did not get enough sun, if any, and his bones are now in a very poor condition.

Romeo relaxing

Romeo relaxing

When they do something you want them to do, or something you have just asked them to do, reward them with praise, using their name “good boy, Precious, good boy” (substitute the name of your capybara for Precious, of course!). Praise is a far more effective reward for a capybara than a food treat. It will strengthen the bond between you and your capybara, whereas the food treat may result in your capybara only performing if there is a food treat in store. Thus the bond between you will be weakened rather than strengthened by using food as rewards. Capybaras will know whether you are sincere or not, so the more energy and feeling you put into your words of praise the more effective your communication will be.

 

Capybaras Are Semi Aquatic and Must Have a Large Pool or Pond in Which to Swim. . Romeo swimming in his pool, so graceful and swift

Capybaras Are Semi Aquatic and Must Have a Large Pool or Pond in Which to Swim. . Romeo swimming in his pool, so graceful and swift

For example, to reinforce the capybara’s good behaviour and therefore your pleasure that they have learned to “go potty” in the designated pooh bowl, every time you notice them poohing, you could say “Good Boy, Precious, Good Boy”.   Romeo really revels in this praise from Elizabeth or Marvin, and swells up looking so proud. He then becomes pouffy, blissful and happy with the pleasure of having poohed in the potty pan, and basking in the praise of his best friend Elizabeth and of Marvin number one in his hierarchy.  As he has grown older Romeo has spent more time using his faeces and urine to mark his territory. He still uses the potty pan but not all the time!

Capybaras prefer to eliminate in water, although in the wild they will excrete their perfect little olive shaped poohs as they walk along searching for vegetation.  Although they are very easy to house train as babies, being naturally extremely clean animals, as they grow older they usually want to mark their territory using urine and faeces around your home.  Most people will find this difficult to live with but capybaras are only behaving naturally.

The carpets in Marvin’s home have been removed, for reasons of hygene, to make it easier to clean the floors after Romeo and Tuff’n have marked their territory using urine, and occasionally faeces.

Provide your capybara with a suitably sized bowl of water which you could keep in the corner of your bathroom. When they are babies, also keep a Pooh bowl in the bedroom where they are sleeping with you, for ease of access. You will probably want to take them over to the pooh bowl several times during the night to try and avoid accidents in the early days while they are getting used to your new house rules.

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Romeo on his Potty Pan doing his Pooh. Tuff’n has already finished.

 

Capybaras are very social and will often choose to do their poohs at the same time as you. This is a good reason for keeping their pooh bowl in your bathroom, so they can join you if they want to. Tuff’n often came to do his poohs when I went to the bathroom!

If you want to get your message across you may have to go down to their level physically, by crouching, kneeling, lying down or sitting beside them. Marvin is number one in the hierarchy and just going down to Romeo’s level often ensures compliance from Romeo.  Capybaras perfectly understand right from wrong, but it’s up to you to teach them the behaviour you want from them.  Unlike dogs they may frequently decide not to comply with your requests.

 

Romeo and Tuff'n snuggling with Elizabeth

Romeo and Tuff’n snuggling with Elizabeth

In a completely different way going down to a capybara’s level or better still lying on the floor evokes a different relationship and response from the capybara. Often they will become much more loving and playful, as if they now view you as a friend and member of the herd.

You can see the wonderful relationship Elizabeth has with Romeo and Tuff’n in this video:

Loving Capybaras Cuddle Elizabeth カピバラ寄り添うエリザベスを愛して   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0gltPk3D3A

If you live in a very dry climate I would advise having  an Evaporative Cooler installed to make the atmosphere as humid as possible for the capybaras. In their native South America capybaras live in a moist, tropical environment.   Romeo and Tuff’n can also have a hot bath on demand if they want it during the winter when it is sometimes too cold to swim outside in their pool.  They also have a large plastic tub that can be filled with hot water for them to play in outside in winter.  Romeo likes to create his own tropical environment by going down under the bed covers to the bottom of the bed where he sweats profusely and creates a nice damp atmosphere.

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Romeo and Tuff’n Waiting Expectantly, Hoping Somebody Might Give Them Some Milk

The capybaras thrive on your communication with them, talking to them and praising them. But you must really mean what you are saying, put great feeling into it. They can sense truth and insincerity. Try to act like you were one of their herd, coming down to their level, vocalising.   See if you can develop a sound that vaguely imitates some of their vocalisations and always use it in the same context as appropriate.  Listen to the vocalisations that the capybaras make and see if you can imitate any of their sounds; you should note the circumstances in which they use this particular sound and only reproduce your imitation of it in the same appropriate circumstances.

 

For more information on the sounds capybaras make with links to videos where you can hear all the wonderful sounds and vocalisations which capybaras make, and what they may mean please see my blog:

 

The Sounds Capybaras Make. Capybara’s Vocalisations, Calls and Barks

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https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/the-sounds-capybaras-make-capybaras-vocalisations-calls-and-barks-%e3%82%b5%e3%82%a6%e3%83%b3%e3%83%89%e3%81%af%e3%80%81%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%83%a1%e3%82%a4%e3%82%af%e3%80%82/

Romeo dreaming on his bed of hay

Romeo dreaming on his bed of hay

You may well have to consider neutering a male capybara to prevent him  becoming aggressive. It’s a horrible operation which should be done when your capybara is as young as possible, at six months or possibly earlier if the vet thinks it is suitable.

Capybaras seem to like flipping their bowls of food or water over, even when they are still half full. You will probably have to teach them not to do this! This may take time but you may succeed if you persevere and if you have developed a good relationship with your pet capybara. Each time the capybara flips over its bowl, tell it very firmly “NO”. Then turn the bowl upright and replace the contents. To make your point even more strongly, each time the capybara flips the bowl over, remove the bowl and its contents. The capybara will soon learn that if it doesn’t want to lose its food it better not to flip over the bowl.

Romeo in Marvin's Lap. Romeo loves going out in the car with Elizabeth or Marvin. He often accompanies Marvin in his work, stopping off at different stores and other public places, where he immediately becomes the centre of attention. Everybody loves Romeo.

Romeo in Marvin’s Lap. Romeo loves going out in the car with Elizabeth or Marvin. He often accompanies Marvin in his work, stopping off at different stores and other public places, where he immediately becomes the centre of attention. Everybody loves Romeo.

If you want your capybara to be at ease in a noisy environment some people suggest that you keep your TV or radio on to provide a level of background noise to habituate your capybara to noise. (You can decide how loud and noisy a channel is appropriate for the noise level you want them to get used).    In this way a capybara should become accustomed to loud noise levels and learn to ignore background noise. Having a constant noise in the background also means your capybara might not react in a frightened or startled or anxious way to a sudden noise near them.

Romeo, on a shopping trip to get a bale of hay, decides to explore the store

Romeo, on a shopping trip to get a bale of hay, decides to explore the store.

The Critical Period of Socialisation: If you want to be able to take your capybara out in a car, or to crowded areas, for example a park, a shop, even a shopping mall, THIS HAS TO BE DONE AT A VERY YOUNG AGE. With any wild animal there is a small window of opportunity when the animal is young, when you can introduce it to potentially fearful situations and it will learn not to be fearful. If this is not done at an early age during what scientists have called The Critical Period the evidence indicates that the animal will never become comfortable in those situations that it views as fearful and potentially threatening, and you will simply cause your capybara an unacceptable level of stress and anxiety. If you want it to be happy and at ease in the presence of dogs this must also be done during The Critical Period, at this young age.

(Here is some interesting research on the critical period of socialisation for dogs and wolves.   The study reveals new information about how the two subspecies of Canis lupus experience their environment during a four-week developmental window called the critical period of socialization, and the new facts may significantly change understanding of wolf and dog development.

When the socialization window is open, wolf and dog pups begin walking and exploring without fear and will retain familiarity throughout their lives with those things they contact. Domestic dogs can be introduced to humans, horses and cats at this stage and be comfortable with them forever. But as the period progresses, fear increases and after the window closes, new sights, sounds and smells will elicit a fear response.

The same is true of cats with regard to a Critical Period. When the kittens are between 3 and 7 weeks old, they are in prime socialization mode, and their brains are forming patterns that will last a lifetime. To some extent a kitten can still be socialized up to 12 weeks old. Between the ages of 12 weeks to 6 months old, a kitten can still get some socialization training, but it will not be as effective or complete.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117152012.htm    )

Romeo in Elizabeth's arms at the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas. The crowds didn't bother Romeo or Tuff'n at all. As you can imagine they were a huge attraction and great crowds gathered round to pet them.

Romeo in Elizabeth’s arms at the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas. The crowds didn’t bother Romeo or Tuff’n at all. As you can imagine they were a huge attraction and great crowds gathered round to pet them.

Being so intelligent and sensitive they react negatively to any tension they pick up from the humans around them. If you are tense and anxious they will react to this. They also react and get upset by people arguing.

In Elizabeth and Marvin’s home there are haysacks in the bedroom in case the capybaras want a snack during the night. (These haystacks are designed for horses. They are made of a course material and are about 2 1/2 feet high by about 18 inches wide, with an oval shaped hole in the front so that the animal can access the contents).  There are nightlights throughout the house so that the capybaras can move about during the night and see where they are going without bumping into something and hurting themselves.  Capybaras do not have good night vision.   Even in daytime Capybaras eyesight is not that good compared with their superb hearing and sense of smell.   There were also two haysacks in the living room. On at least one occasion Romeo seemed to deliberately choose the haysack in which Tuff’n was resting, at the third bite Romeo delved in as if he was trying to make life uncomfortable for Tuff’n, or perhaps just to amuse himself at Tuff’n’s expense. Within seconds Tuff’n jumped out! These two haysacks in the living room have now been replaced by two bales of hay.  The hay is a mixture of Timothy grass and Orchard grass which the capybaras love.

It is very important to provide capybaras with coarse food to chew on 24/7. This will ensure that they do not chew on the furnishings, a very common problem with pet capybaras. Romeo and Tuff’n never chew on furnishings as there is always hay or guinea pig pellets in the home for them to chew on. Another equally important reason for providing this course food is to ensure the health of their teeth. Capybara teeth grow continually and they need to chew on something to keep this growth under control. In the wild capybaras chew on twigs or stones.

Be sure you get good quality hay. You will need a supplier who you can trust, and who will tell you honestly about the quality of any given batch of hay he is selling.

Romeo and Tuff'n on their bales of hay. Romeo and Tuff'n never eat the furnishings. If they want something to chew on there is always hay and guinea pig pellets, available 24/7 and along with grass the best possible things they could eat

Romeo and Tuff’n on their bales of hay. Romeo and Tuff’n never eat the furnishings. If they want something to chew on there is always hay and guinea pig pellets, available 24/7 and along with grass the best possible things they could eat

 

Romeo and Tuff’n often like to laze or sleep on the bales of hay. At dinner time they will often join the humans in the dining room, munching on their hay and then fall asleep as the evening wears on.

Pool – What Size Pool Does A Capybara Need

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 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.

A large, 8 foot, cattle tank is not sufficient. There is no way capybaras 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.

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 aquatically, as they would in the wild. To swim, and roll, and play with gay abandon.

Here are links to 2 of my blogs about swimming pools for capybaras:

Capybara Health Warning: it might be potentially dangerous to let your capybara swim in a chlorinated swimming pool designed and intended for human use.

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/

Pet Capybara Pool Size. What Size Pool Does My Capybara Need?:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/pet-capybara-pool-size-what-size-pool-does-my-capybara-need/

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If you do decide to live with a capybara and it is coming by air, try to find another animal that can accompany it (in a cage with a chain link barrier so it can smell and see another). It is very, very frightening for a capybara to fly on its own; the loneliness and isolation , the strange noises, the effects of pressurisation, the takeoff and landing. These stressful, negative experiences are a very bad start to a baby capybara’s life.

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Here are links to some videos:

Capybaras are semi aquatic and it is essential that they have access to a good-sized pond or swimming pool. Some people use a large sized cattle tank (intended for cows to drink from). Personally I do not think this is large enough, but it is better than nothing. You can see how much Romeo enjoys swimming and frolicking in his pool in this video:

Romeo Capybara Swimming ロミオカピバラ水泳 – YouTube     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slUBooqIy0Q

These are the two videos featured in the blog above;  for convenience I am posting the links again:

You can see and feel how much Marvin loves Romeo in this video:

Romeo Capybara ” Feel the Love” ロミオカピバラはあまり愛されている    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON-WoauTmp4

You can see the wonderful relationship Elizabeth has with Romeo and Tuff’n in this video:

Loving Capybaras Cuddle Elizabeth カピバラ寄り添うエリザベスを愛して   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0gltPk3D3A

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