Capybaras, Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans, Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard. カピバラに対して毒性である植物。有毒化学物質。危険な動物 – ヘビ、クモ、サソリ

Would You Want To Be Responsible for the Death of This Capybara?

Would You Want To Be Responsible for the Death of This Capybara?

 

Many plants, bushes and trees are toxic to animals. There is little information available about which poisonous plants are specifically toxic to capybaras. Some people recommend that any plant that is toxic to horses or sheep may be toxic to capybaras, as they have a similar digestive system.  Cows and goats can tolerate some toxins, like mouldy hay which you should never feed to a capybara, horse etc.  The limitation of this information with regard to horses is the difference in body size between horses and capybaras. Capybaras are much smaller than horses and therefore may be more susceptible to any toxins in the plants they eat. I.E., a capybara would be in danger after eating a smaller quantity of a toxic plant than a much larger horse would be.

A common misconception is that animals will instinctively know which plants are safe to eat. In the wild animals will usually learn from older animals in the herd which plants are safe to forage on. Once you take an animal out of its natural environment it becomes your responsibility to ensure every aspect of its safety, including what food it consumes, whether there are dangerous snakes, spiders or scorpions in the area, and that it cannot access lethal chemicals like antifreeze.

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

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

Two plants which are known to be lethal to capybaras are Azaleas and the Chinaberry tree (also known as the Bead tree, Pride of India, Texas Umbrella tree, Melia Azedarach, White Cedar, Paradise tree, China Ball tree, Persian Lilac). All parts of the Chinaberry tree are considered toxic with the highest concentration of toxins found in the berries. Clinical signs include drooling, diarrhoea and depression; with a larger intake of berries, toxicity can lead to seizures and death. Eating as few as 6 berries can lead to death in a human.

.Chinaberry Tree. Please see my text for other names of this toxic tree

Chinaberry Tree. Please see my text for other names of this toxic tree

At least one capybara has died as a result of eating the leaves of an Azalea plant. Another capybara became ill, but fortunately survived, after eating the berries of the Chinaberry tree.
Oleander is frequently found growing in gardens and public parks. As little as a few mouthfuls of certain parts of this plant can kill a horse in minutes. The yew tree is another very toxic plant; 8 ounces can kill an adult horse in 5 minutes.

With other plants, such as bracken, the toxic effect can build up over months. So don’t assume your capybara is unharmed just because there is no immediate sign of poisoning after eating a plant that is known to be toxic. In the long term you might be killing your capybara.

Some plants are only poisonous when fresh. Other plants only become poisonous when they are dried. Other plants are only poisonous when they are dead. Some plants are poisonous when they are both fresh and dried.

Many chemicals are toxic to animals. Antifreeze is highly toxic to animals and will kill in a very short space of time. There are many other chemicals such as petroleum products which are highly toxic. Make sure your pet does not have access to these, for example by wandering into your garage.


Common signs to look out for if you think your capybara may have eaten a toxic plant, or other toxin, are:

Drooling
Rolling, unnatural or excessive rolling is often an indication that your capybara is suffering pain in its digestive tract. What we humans would call a tummy ache.
Diarrhoea
Depression
Respiratory distress (shortness of breath, increased heart rate, distressed breathing)
Restlessness
Scratching at the mouth or face
Increased urination
Muscle twitching or shaking
Seizures
Death


Diarrhoea can prove fatal in capybaras.

If you suspect your capybara has eaten any toxic plant take it to your vet immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. By the time symptoms appear it may be too late to save your animal.

If you have any doubts about the safety and toxicity of any plant in your garden you should take the plant to your local garden centre or better still one of the county/state government run agencies, often called the Cooperative Extension, devoted to agriculture and home plant issues. They go by a variety of different names including IFAS or EDIS. They are coordinated through State Universities and implemented by County offices. Every county should have an office. They do a lot of work with plant identification, agricultural disease/pests, gardening, pasture weeds, livestock issues, healthy living, energy savings, invasive plants, beneficial insects, etc. Unfortunately they are sometimes understaffed but this would be a good place to start your search for information. Each state should provide information online regarding toxic plants and other dangers to animals within that state. You should be prepared to do your own search, even if it is time-consuming, to ascertain any dangers that might threaten the life of your beloved capybara.


I would remove every toxic plant from my garden or land rather than risk the death of a capybara I loved
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A surprisingly large number of common garden and household plants are toxic to pets, and reactions to toxicity range from mild to life-threatening. Capybaras like to explore their environment by mouthing and tasting, and they are therefore particularly vulnerable to accidental poisoning. Many toxic plants might look very pretty in a garden, but the health of your capybara should come first. It is important to know which plants are toxic. Also, if you tell a capybara “No” you will arouse its curiosity and make it more likely to target this plant.

Romeo. A Very Special Capybara

Romeo. A Very Special Capybara

 

I had a wonderful experience of this with Romeo. There was a plant in the neighbour’s garden, where Romeo and Tuff’n sometimes go to graze, which was believed to be potentially toxic. Usually the plant was covered with a garbage bin so that Romeo and Tuff’n couldn’t access it. However as the plant grew bigger the bin began to damage the plant. So instead Romeo was told “no” every time he went over to the plant and we ensured that he did not eat the plant. Marvin decided that Romeo’s interest in the plant was mostly to get Marvin’s attention rather than to eat the plant. As an experiment Marvin turned his back to Romeo as Romeo approached the plant. As soon as Romeo noticed that Marvin wasn’t looking he completely lost interest in the plant! Just like a mischievous child seeking attention.

Romeo is an exceptional capybara who tries to please. It might well be that turning your back will not have this effect on some other capybaras who might go ahead and try and eat the plant. Romeo knew he was not supposed to eat the plant and he is probably a little unusual amongst capybaras because of his very close relationship with the humans he has bonded with.

Waiting to Go to the Park to Graze

Waiting to Go to the Park to Graze

The following are very useful sites:

This site contains information about Poisonous Plants for Horses: http://www.understanding-horse-nutrition.com/poisonous-plants.html

This site has photographs of the Poisonous Weeds in Horse Pastures. Created by Rutgers University and New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS938. May 2013: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/fs938/

You can do a search by plant name to determine toxicity at this site: Plants Poisonous to Livestock created by Cornell University: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/php/plants.php?action=display&ispecies=horses

This site gives information about plants that are toxic to sheep. You might want to check it out: http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/sheep/31663-sheep-basics-toxic-plant-list.html

This site includes toxic chemicals, medicines and drugs as well as poisonous plants. Produced by the pharmaceutical company Merck: http://www.merckmanuals.com/pethealth/special_subjects/poisoning/plants_poisonous_to_animals.html

Romeo to on the deck 20%


The following information relates to pets in general, primarily the most common pets such as cats and dogs.
I personally would not risk a capybara’s health by including any of these plants in my garden or on my land:

The following 12 plants are the toxic plants most commonly eaten by pets in general which resulted in the pets requiring medical treatment. Not all the pets survived. The danger posed by these plants will vary from species to species and the amount the animal has eaten. I would recommend removing all these toxic plants from your garden or land.

1. Lilies (Lilium, all spp.): Ingesting any part of the plant can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. First symptoms appear in a few hours and may include appetite suppression, lethargy, vomiting.
2. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis): Ingesting any part of the plant can cause cardiac dysrhythmias (any disorder of the heart rate/rhythm/pulse such as beating too fast, too slow or irregularly), vomiting, diarrhoea, confusion, weakness, and even death.
3. Anemone (Anenome and Pulsatilla, family Ranunculaceae): Irritates the mucus membranes, and can cause blisters, hemorrhagic gastritis, shock, convulsions, and death.
4. Aloe Vera (family Liliaceae): Vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.
5. Amaryllis (family Amaryllidaceaea, incl. Hippeastrum spp.) All species, including Belladonna Lily, are toxic. The bulbs are the toxic part of the plant. The “Amaryllis” commonly seen during the December holidays are Hippeastrum species. Symptoms include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased salivation, anorexia, tremors.
6. Asparagus Fern (family Liliaceae): Allergic dermatitis, gastric upset, vomiting, diarrhea.
7. Daffodil (Narcissus): Vomiting, diarrhea. Large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms).
8. Philodendrons: Irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
9. Jade Plants (Crassula argentea): Vomiting, depressions, ataxia (in ability to control muscles/lack of muscle coordination), slow heart rate.
10. Chrysanthemums: Vomiting, diarrhea, increased salivation, lack of coordination/ataxia, dermatitis.
11. Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum): The tubers or rhizomes contain the toxic glycoside cyclanin, a terpenoid saponin. Ingestion can cause excess salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures, or even death in rare cases.
12. Cycads (including Sago palm; cardboard palm; etc.): The “Sago palm” is a cycad, not a true palm, and all parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, melena (black “tarry” feces), jaundice, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastritis, bruising, coagulopathy (blood is unable to clot properly), liver failure, and death.

The following plants are highly toxic:

• Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia species)
• Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
• Daphne (Daphne spp.)
• Deathcamas & Meadow Deathcamas (Zigadenus venenosus)
• English yew (Taxus baccata)
• Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
• Jimson weed or Devil’s Trumpet (this plant has many common names) (Datura spp.)
• Nicotiana/Tobacco plants (all spp.)
• Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
• Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
• Pokeweed (Phytilacca americana)
• Tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)
• Western water hemlock (Cicuta douglasii)
• Yew (Taxus cuspidata)

Another useful site that gives information about plants that are potentially poisonous to animals:
Plants Potentially Poisonous to Pets : The Humane Society of the United States http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/plants_poisonous_to_pets.html

You might also want to check out Plants and Flowers that are dangerous for Guinea Pigs and Rabbits. These include:

Bluebell, Crocus, Daffodil, Dock, Foxglove, Hyacinth, Laburnum, Poppy, Ragwort, Tulip and once again Yew

Potato sprouts, potato peelings, and anything to do with a potato plant
Beans and anything to do with a bean plant
Anything to do with a tomato plant (the tomato itself is okay)
Anything to do with rhubarb
Dill (watch out for prepackaged “salad & herb” kits) and
Flowers or any part of a flowering plant
Houseplants
Unidentified weeds
Any foods that were previously frozen
Fruit cores, pits, and seeds. You should of course avoid feeding fruit to capybaras as their digestive system, hindgut fermentation, has not evolved to cope with any food with a high sugar content.

This site includes a list of Plants, Human Medicines and Chemicals, like antifreeze, which are harmful to Guinea Pigs and Rabbits: http://www.jspca.org.je/pets_toxins_info.html

Be Aware of any Animals, Spiders or Snakes in your area whose bite could be lethal to a capybara:

A Scorpion bite can kill a young capybara as happened to one young 7 month old capybara that I was particularly fond of. You should be aware of Scorpion nests if you live in an area with scorpions that pose a danger to young children.

This Enchanting Young Capybara Died after Being Stung by Scorpion. In this photo he is sitting in my lap. He Was so Gentle and Trusting. I still cry when I think about him

This Enchanting Young Capybara Died after Being Stung by Scorpion.
In this photo he is sitting in my lap. He Was so Gentle and Trusting. I still cry when I think about him

Check to see if there are any dangerous snakes, spiders or scorpions in the area in which you live. If you know that poisonous creatures enter your garden or land you will need to think very carefully about how you will deal with this problem. Do you want to risk the life of your capybara by letting your capybara graze unsupervised? I certainly wouldn’t. It is your responsibility to safeguard the life of your capybara.

More information on toxic plants:
http://www.livescience.com/39253-toxic-plants-poison-cats-dogs.html?adbid=10152505207396761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760&cmpid=514627_20150111_38540967

I have written this blog to get people who live with a capybara to THINK about what dangers may lurk on their property that could kill their beloved capybara. I am always surprised and concerned about how little thought some people give to the potential risks that their capybara might encounter. There seems to be a great deal of inertia.

Please use this blog as a starting point and do your own research.

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Protected: My observations of Capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. Blog for Animal Behaviour Course MOOC …

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The Sacred Golden Capybara 聖なる黄金カピバラ

45% Brilliant Romeo Gordon mud Capy crop May 16 2014 Mud 057

Romeo

The Sacred Golden Mud Capy, Revered and Worshipped for Thousands of Years For His Spiritual Inspiration and Healing Powers.
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                       Many people have discovered the healing powers of capybara.
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If you live with a capybara who loves you, and you are ill or in pain the capybara will come and lie beside you all day to mitigate your suffering. Capybara may lay his head on the injured area of your body and you will find this a source of comfort and inspiration, and you will undoubtedly feel better.
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If you are stressed and facing difficult challenges in your life, thinking of capybaras will ensure you relax and relieve your stress, helping you to focus more clearly and positively on your path ahead.

People who live in harmony with a capybara often find they no longer get ill.

 

35% May 16 2014 Mud 056 crop

Whenever I am surrounded by loud, noisy unpleasant people, I imagine they are all gentle, chuckling capybaras and I instantly feel better. Capybaras make the most wonderful, cute, gentle chuckling sounds when they are happy and content.

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When you go to bed at night you will hear a distant happy chuckling coming closer and closer. Then Capybara will jump up on the bed beside you, lay his head on your shoulder or under your chin, and snuggle up as close as possible to you.

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Capybara will continue to converse with you making happy chuckles in response to your chuckles. This conversation is amazing to witness and takes communication between humans and capybaras to an altogether higher, more mystical plane, which very few people experience.

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To have this inspirational and spiritually rewarding relationship with a capybara you must be tuned in to its emotional needs. You must love him so much that you automatically want to put the capybara’s needs before your own. Many capybaras become aggressive because the people they are living with do not understand them.

This blog is dedicated to Romeo, an exceptional Capybara. Capybaras are an exceptional species

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Pet Capybara FAQs. The Questions People Always Ask.

Pet Capybara FAQs. ペットのカピバラのFAQ。 (よくある質問)

Part 1 and much of Part 2 by Marvin Reeder who lives with Romeo and Tuff’n. These are the questions Marvin and Elizabeth are asked every day when they take Romeo and Tuff’n to the park:

Tuff'n and Romeo make regular visits to Lake Mead to swim. They do have their own specially treated swimming pool at home, but in the wild they would enjoy a life with wide open vistas. Capybaras like most wild animals do not like to be confined. They hate fences and barriers.

Tuff’n and Romeo make regular visits to Lake Mead to swim. They do have their own specially treated swimming pool at home, but in the wild they would enjoy a life with space and vistas. Capybaras like most wild animals do not like to be confined. They hate fences and barriers.

1. What is that?   A capybara.

What is a capybara?  

(Polite answer):     A Semi-Aquatic Herbivore from South America.

(Straight answer):     The World’s Largest Rodent.

Romeo

Romeo

2. Do they make a good pet?     NO!

It is very hard to create an environment which is healthy and mentally rewarding for the capybara, and safe.

How to pet a baby capybara. Little 2 month old Cookie, Maple’s daughter and Butter’s sister, goes into a trance state when just the right spot is massaged in just the right way.

 

The best experience you may have with capybaras is at Nagasaki Bio Park. Please see my blog:  If You Want a Capybara to Sit in Your Lap Go to Nagasaki Bio Park.  あなたは好きですか?愛情カピバラ?あなたの上に座って?長崎バイオパークに行きます

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/if-you-want-a-capybara-to-sit-in-your-lap-go-to-nagasaki-bio-park-%e3%81%82%e3%81%aa%e3%81%9f%e3%81%af%e5%a5%bd%e3%81%8d%e3%81%a7%e3%81%99%e3%81%8b%ef%bc%9f%e6%84%9b%e6%83%85%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94/

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3. Are they like a cat or a dog?    No!

They are like a toddler (human) with sharp teeth and an attitude.

Capybara society is very hierarchical. Male capybaras will challenge each other to become the dominant male. With their very sharp teeth this will result in cuts. If you're male capybara decides to challenge you for the dominant position you will get bitten. Capybara skin is much tougher than human skin so it will be very painful

Capybara society is very hierarchical. Male capybaras will challenge each other to become the dominant male. With their very sharp teeth this will result in cuts.
If your male capybara decides to challenge you for the dominant position you may well get bitten. Capybara skin is much tougher than human skin so it will be very painful

4. Are Capybaras Dangerous?:     Capybaras have razor sharp teeth and can be unpredictable. They are after all wild animals.

Do they bite?      Yes, depending on circumstances. I know of several capybaras which have bitten their owners and are now in shelters. It breaks my heart to think how these capybaras have been failed by humans, who probably should never have lived with a capybara in the first place.

Our video: Even the Most Sweet Natured Capybara Can Turn Aggressive 甘い性格のペットカピバラは攻撃的になる
Romeo is the most fantastic Capybara as anyone who has seen the videos of Romeo kissing Elizabeth Ojeda-Reeder Romeo-Tuffn will realise. But capybaras are wild animals and you never know how your actions might play out in the mind of a wild animal. It’s too easy to show how incredibly adorable capybaras are. I’ve seen a couple of blogs lately suggesting capybaras make great pets. This is absolute rubbish and very irresponsible. Capybaras need an incredible amount of love, time and commitment. Very few people would be able to give this. Too many capybaras get rejected as they get bigger and older and end up in refuges or die prematurely.

There is an awful lot of misinformation and inaccurate information about capybaras on the Internet.

 

Romeo nibbles Marvin affectionately. Very few, if any, capybaras could be trusted in this way. Romeo is quite exceptional. Romeo knows that Marvin is number one in the hierarchy and occasionally Romeo challenges him and becomes aggressive. Marvin is powerful enough, and has many decades experience with animals so he has never been seriously injured. This might not be the case with most humans.

Romeo nibbles Marvin affectionately. Very few, if any, capybaras could be trusted in this way. Romeo is quite exceptional.
Romeo knows that Marvin is number one in the hierarchy and occasionally Romeo challenges him and becomes aggressive.
Marvin is powerful enough, and has many decades of experience with animals so he has never been seriously injured. This might not be the case with most humans.

5. How much does IT cost?

The cost could easily exceed thousands of dollars, when you factor in vet’s bills. The time investment the capybara needs is often greater than the (substantial) financial obligation.

Romeo is marking a cushion (with urine, which does not smell) as he frequently does to enforce his territory. He doesn't like the smell of freshly washed cushions. You can see the stains from the faeces on the carpet, faeces is also used for marking. Since this photo was taken all the carpets have been ripped out. In the living room there are now 2 bales of hay instead of furniture. The capybaras eat a lot of hay.

Romeo is marking a cushion (with urine, which does not smell) as he frequently does to enforce his territory. He doesn’t like the smell of freshly washed cushions.
You can see the stains from the faeces on the carpet, faeces is also used for marking.
Since this photo was taken all the carpets have been ripped out. In the living room there are now 2 bales of hay instead of furniture. The capybaras eat a lot of hay.

6. Are they potty trained?

Yes and No.  They are easily potty trained as babies.  However, as they grow older they will probably want to mark their territory using urine and feces. Capybaras need/like to mark their territory (with pooh). Don’t plan on keeping a carpet! Slick surfaces, like tiles, are too slippery, capybaras don’t get good traction with their claws and find it difficult to walk on slick surfaces.

Please see our video: What Capybaras Do When No One Is Looking カピバラアクション。誰も見ていない。   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvtVm_wN2PY

Romeo doesn’t like the smell of the furnishings especially after they’ve been washed. He needs to make the smells more interesting by marking (using urine and sometimes faeces – you can see the stains on the carpet from the faeces) them. And since there are 2 male capybaras he needs to establish his territory by marking. This should make you think twice about having a pet capybara! Capybaras have not evolved over millions of years to live in homes. Unlike dogs and cats who have had over 10,000 years of domestication in which to adapt to living with humans, capybaras’ natural lifestyles should be respected if they come and live with you. After all they never asked to be your companions. Fortunately Romeo and Tuff’n live in a home with a family who understand their needs, and understand that their needs must be paramount.

 

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Part 2 Pet Capybara FAQs – more detailed answers.                   There is a lot of inaccurate information about capybaras on the Internet.

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.

1. What is a capybara?

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

All the carpets have now been ripped out. It is quite natural for capybaras to mark their territory. It would be cruel to prevent them carrying out this completely natural activity. So for reasons of hygiene you will need to have a floor that is easily washed. However, it must not be slick and slippery, like a tiled floor, as capybaras would not be able to move around comfortably on this type of flooring. The main living room has had all the furniture removed. Now there are just 2 bales of hay for the capybaras to eat.

All the carpets have now been ripped out. It is quite natural for capybaras to mark their territory. It would be cruel to prevent them carrying out this completely natural activity. So for reasons of hygiene you will need to have a floor that is easily washed. However, it must not be slick and slippery, like a tiled floor, as capybaras would not be able to move around comfortably on this type of flooring.
The main living room has had all the furniture removed. Now there are just 2 bales of hay for the capybaras to eat.

 

2. Do they make a good pet?

No!    Capybaras are wild animals whose natural behaviour is not suited to domestication. They are wired for certain behaviours. If you force them to behave by your rules you will destroy some aspect of their spirit and your relationship with them. They did not ask to come and live with you, therefore the onus is on you to adapt to them and to ensure their happiness. You need to establish a very strong bond and good rapport with your capybara so that the capybara wants to do what you ask. Even then, although the capybara may understand perfectly what you are asking them to do, they will only comply if it suits them.

Marvin and Elizabeth have ripped out all their carpets. The largest room in the house has been given over to the capybaras and is covered in hay which provides good traction for capybara feet and a soft nesting area to rest on. There are two large bales of hay for Romeo and Tuff’n to eat.

Capybaras are herd animals and will expect the human they have bonded with to remain with them at all times. They get very stressed and anxious if this human leaves the home. Therefore if you have to go out to work or you need to enjoy a busy social life, please do not even consider having a capybara.

Capybaras are exceptionally social, gregarious herd animals. They become extremely distressed if left on their own. In the wild if a member of their herd became separated it would mean almost certain death.

Capybaras are exceptionally social, gregarious herd animals. They become extremely distressed if left on their own. In the wild if a member of their herd became separated it would mean almost certain death.

Some of the issues you will face include: i) Ensuring the capybaras have access to enough grass. It is far better for their teeth for them to graze, than for you to provide them with ready cut grass; ii) Providing access to a pool which is large enough for them to swim in and sanitised in a way that will not harm the capybara (see my two blogs on swimming pool size and sterilisation, links given below); iii) Placing electrical/power cords out of reach of the capybara; iv) Making sure there is nothing a capybara, especially a baby capybara, can crawl under and hide out of reach (when a baby capybara first arrives at a new home it may well be frightened and try to escape from you).

As Marvin and Elizabeth say with regard to living with a capybara: “Often it’s the little things or something you might not think would hurt them, that you have to look out for. Capybaras are not designed to live in a house. Everything is dangerous to them. We as humans have to look ahead and make it as safe as possible. This is a learning experience for all of us”.

A capybara in a pen would be very unhappy. It would not be getting the social attention it needs, and capybaras are amongst the most social animals I have ever met. In the wild their territory extends over many hectares (average size of territory in the wild is 5 – 16 hectares but can be much larger). To be confined in a cage of 100 ft.², (one Internet site suggests this size pen is appropriate!) would be like a prison. Capybaras don’t like barriers or boundaries.

Capybaras practice cecotrophy. This can get a little messy and you may find small amounts of cecotropes on your bed, sofa etc. The capybara diet is highly fibrous and nutritionally low in value.  Cecotrophy allows the capybara to digest more nutrients from an otherwise low nutrient diet and maximise the absorption of protein. The 'cecotrophy' excreta is different in composition to the usual oval shaped faeces, and contains up to 37% more protein and 30% less fibrous material, depending on the diet. Capybaras most often practice cecotrophy in the early morning hours when protein content is highest.

Capybaras practice cecotrophy. This can get a little messy and you may find small amounts of cecotropes on your bed, sofa etc.
The capybara diet is highly fibrous and nutritionally low in value. Cecotrophy allows the capybara to digest more nutrients from an otherwise low nutrient diet and maximise the absorption of protein. The ‘cecotrophy’ excreta is different in composition to the usual oval shaped faeces, and contains up to 37% more protein and 30% less fibrous material, depending on the diet. Capybaras most often practice cecotrophy in the early morning hours when protein content is highest.

3. Are they like a cat or a dog?

No.   Capybaras are wild animals, they are not domesticated. Unlike cats and dogs they have not had more than 10,000 years of domestication in which to adapt to living with humans. There are people who feel that it is unkind to keep an exotic animal as a pet.

Capybaras are highly intelligent and very sophisticated emotionally. They will plan and strategise behaviours in order to get their way. If capybaras are frustrated or dissatisfied they may defecate on the carpet or in other inappropriate areas. They may pout or throw fits. They may well bite you.

Capybaras have very impressive, razor sharp teeth.  They can do a lot of harm and inflict a very painful bite if they choose to.

Capybaras have very impressive, razor sharp teeth. They can do a lot of harm and inflict a very painful bite if they choose to.

 

4. Are Capybaras Dangerous?   Do they bite?

Capybaras are very territorial and hierarchical. I know of many capybaras who have bitten the humans they live with because of territorial or hierarchical issues which their human did not have the skill, aptitude or knowledge to resolve.

If they are left alone they will become very stressed and unhappy which can lead to bad behaviour and biting. I know of too many capybaras who were living in unhappy circumstances and resorted to biting to express their unhappiness. A capybara bite can be very serious as they have razor sharp teeth.

Our video: Even the Most Sweet Natured Capybara Can Turn Aggressive 甘い性格のペットカピバラは攻撃的になる
Romeo is the most fantastic Capybara as anyone who has seen the videos of Romeo kissing Elizabeth Ojeda-Reeder Romeo-Tuffn will realise. But capybaras are wild animals and you never know how your actions might play out in the mind of a wild animal. It’s too easy to show how incredibly adorable capybaras are. I’ve seen a couple of blogs lately suggesting capybaras make great pets. This is absolute rubbish and very irresponsible. Capybaras need an incredible amount of love, time and commitment. Very few people would be able to give this. Too many capybaras get rejected as they get bigger and older and end up in refuges or die prematurely.

There is an awful lot of misinformation and inaccurate information about capybaras on the Internet.

 

Capybaras love to roll in the mud. It is an essential activity for the health of their skin. Although you may try to keep them out of the house until they have been washed, capybaras are very clever and devious at finding a way into your pristine house. Another reason not to have carpets.

Capybaras love to roll in the mud. It is an essential activity for the health of their skin. Although you may try to keep them out of the house until they have been washed, capybaras are very clever and devious at finding a way into your pristine house. Another reason not to have carpets.

 

5. How much does IT cost?

When considering the cost of living with a pet capybara, you will need an exotic pet vet who is experienced in looking after capybaras. Exotic pet vets are expensive. If you do not follow the right diet you will have health problems and tooth problems. The vet and dental bills will pile up.

Capybara teeth keep growing and need to be kept in check by eating coarse food. In the wild the capybara’s diet consists of wild grasses, some sages and aquatic plants, and bark. Many capybaras chew on twigs or stones to keep their teeth in check. You should follow this diet as closely as possible as capybaras digestion has evolved over 15 million years for this diet.

Video: Adorable Clever Capybara Knows How to Keep Her Teeth Healthy:

The correct diet is critically important for a capybara. Due to the way capybaras digest food, hindgut fermentation, they should not be fed sweet things, even sweetcorn. “What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?”: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-capybara/

If you have a male capybara the cost of neutering will be about $700.

Capybaras need sun for the health of their bones. In the wild they live outside, of course, and are exposed to sun throughout the day. Several pet capybaras have suffered very serious problems with their bones as a result of being kept inside. One young capybara has bones which are in such a poor state that his vet has advised he should be put down.

El Torro Romeo. Every day Romeo and Tuff'n go to the park to graze for 2 or 3 hours. Capybaras' digestive system has evolved over more than 15 million years for a diet of grasses. In the wild capybaras spend between 31% (in the wet season) and 42% (in the dry season) grazing. If they do not get the right diet, with plenty of course material, they may get life-threatening problems with their teeth. They should never be given sweet foods or junk food. Photo by Marvin Reeder

El Torro Romeo.
Every day Romeo and Tuff’n go to the park to graze for 2 or 3 hours. Capybaras’ digestive system has evolved over more than 15 million years for a diet of grasses. In the wild capybaras spend between 31% (in the wet season) and 42% (in the dry season) grazing.
If they do not get the right diet, with plenty of course material, they may get life-threatening problems with their teeth. They should never be given sweet foods or junk food.
Photo by Marvin Reeder

6. Are they potty trained?

Baby capybaras are very trainable without giving treats. They respond very well to the reward of being told “Good Boy/Girl” by the human they are attached to. However as they grow older they very often begin to mark their territory with their morillo and anal gland, using urine and faeces.

They defecate on average every 2 hours. That means you will be cleaning the potty pan at least 10 times a day if not more. This is a messy and unpleasant task.

Romeo Marking His Territory (with urine). It is natural for capybaras to mark their territory. It would be cruel to prevent them from fulfilling their natural behaviour. They never asked to be your companions and live in a house designed for humans. Most people would not be prepared to alter their lifestyle to ensure the happiness of their exotic pet. For this reason they really shouldn't consider keeping a capybara as a pet.

Romeo Marking His Territory (with urine). It is natural for capybaras to mark their territory. It would be cruel to prevent them from fulfilling their natural behaviour. They never asked to be your companions and live in a house designed for humans.
Most people would not be prepared to alter their lifestyle to ensure the happiness of their exotic pet. For this reason they really shouldn’t consider keeping a capybara as a pet.

Other things to consider:

Capybaras understand many words and phrases. You need to be the sort of person who is in tune with animals and able to communicate with animals in a respectful and loving way.

Capybaras are exceedingly cute, perhaps even more so when they are babies. However adult capybaras will take over the house. They are exceptionally smart and opportunistic. You will find yourself feeling bad that you haven’t made their accommodations better so as to fit in with their lifestyle.

Please see our video: What Capybaras Do When No One Is Looking カピバラアクション。誰も見ていない。

Romeo doesn’t like the smell of the furnishings especially after they’ve been washed. He needs to make the smells more interesting by marking (using urine and sometimes faeces – you can see the stains on the carpet from the faeces) them. And since there are 2 male capybaras he needs to establish his territory by marking. This should make you think twice about having a pet capybara! Capybaras have not evolved over millions of years to live in homes. Unlike dogs and cats who have had over 10,000 years of domestication in which to adapt to living with humans, capybaras’ natural lifestyles should be respected if they come and live with you. After all they never asked to be your companions. Fortunately Romeo and Tuff’n live in a home with a family who understand their needs, and understand that their needs must be paramount.

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For more information on keeping a capybara safe and healthy please read my blogs listed below:

Please read my blog: A Pet Capybara: Should I Have One? https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/a-pet-capybara-should-i-have-one/

A) The correct diet is critically important for a capybara. Due to the way capybaras digestive food, hindgut fermentation, they should not be fed sweet things, even sweetcorn. “What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?”: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-capybara/
B) Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables:
https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/protect-your-capybaras-and-guinea-pigs-from-power-cords-and-electric-cables-%e9%9b%bb%e6%ba%90%e3%82%b3%e3%83%bc%e3%83%89%e3%81%a8%e9%9b%bb%e6%b0%97%e3%82%b1%e3%83%bc%e3%83%96%e3%83%ab%e3%81%8b/

C) A male capybara kept as a pet will almost certainly need to be neutered between the ages of 4 and 6 months. This is costly at about $700, but also very painful and stressful for both the capybara and for you. Please see my blog: Neutering a Pet Capybara. Tuff’n’s Story: “Who Stole My Testicles”.

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/neutering-a-pet-capybara-tuffn
s-story-who-stole-my-testicles-%E3%83%9A%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E3%81%AE%E3%82%AB
%E3%83%94%E3%83%90%E3%83%A9%E3%82%92%E5%8E%BB%E5%8B%A2-%E3%83%AA%E3%83%88/

 

E) Please see my blog which gives information about the dangers to capybaras of letting capybaras use your swimming pool. I also give information about the best system to use to clean the water in your swimming pool, with minimal use of chlorine, which would not be good for the capybaras:

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/
F) 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/

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

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

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Capybara Facts and Information. Everything You Wanted To Know About Capybaras カピバラの事実と情報. カピバラについて知りたいすべてのもの

 

Adult Female Capybara, 6 years old.  成人女性カピバラ。 6歳

Adult Female Capybara, 6 years old. 成人女性カピバラ。 6歳

Capybara Facts and Information (Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris) Short version. For more detailed information please see the longer version below this short version:

The capybara has attracted the attention of explorers and writers to South America from the 16th century onward. They were struck by both its size and its gregariousness and relative tameness. The capybara is the last survivor of a long line of gigantic grass eating rodents that evolved in South America over millions of years.   It is the world’s largest rodent.

Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

The name, capybara, originates from a word in the language of the indigenous Tupi people (ka’pii which means grass + gwara which means eater). There are many, many different names for the capybara in South America, the most common of these include: carpincho, capivara, chiguire, ronsoco.

In the past capybaras were also known as Water Pig

There are 2 species of capybara.    The less common species is the Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus Isthmius) found in eastern Panama, north western Colombia and western Venezuela. The species is fairly common in Panama but increasingly rare in Venezuela. It is threatened by subsistence hunting, the destruction of forested areas and the drainage of swamps.

Geographical Location: Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) are found in Central and South America from Panama to Northern Argentina primarily east of the Andes. They inhabit several types of wetland including gallery forest along rivers, mangroves and marshes. The highest altitude at which capybaras are found is 4, 500 feet (1500 m). The only South American country with no capybaras is Chile.

6 Week Old Baby Capybara Sleeping.   6週齢の赤ちゃんカピバラは眠る

6 Week Old Baby Capybara Sleeping. 6週齢の赤ちゃんカピバラは眠る

Size and Weight: An adult capybara is large! Adult capybaras weigh on average from 40 to 50 kg in the wild (range 35 – 65 kg). In captivity the average weight is between 50 – 60 kg for a healthy capybara. There is no difference in weight between the sexes. In length they average about 4 feet (1.2 m) and are up to 2 feet tall (.60 m).

Physical Description: Capybaras’ skin is thick and sparsely covered with coarse, oily water-resistant fur, varying in colour: red, grey, brown and straw coloured. Some black hairs can be found on the face, rump and limbs. Capybaras have a vestigial tail but this is not visible from a distance. The front legs are shorter than the hind legs. The feet are partially webbed with four toes on the front feet and three toes on the hind feet. The head is large with the nostrils, eyes and ears (which are small and hairless with a mobile fold that closes the ear canal when they submerge) located on the top of their head, so they can hear, smell and see while remaining almost completely submerged, an adaptation to their semi aquatic lifestyle which allows them to keep a lookout for any dangers while remaining almost invisible.

    The Vestigial Tail of a Capybara (by the little red arrow).   カピバラの痕跡尾。 (赤い矢印で)

The Vestigial Tail of a Capybara (by the little red arrow). カピバラの痕跡尾。 (赤い矢印で)

Semi aquatic lifestyle: Access to water is essential for capybaras. Capybaras’ territory always includes water which is used both as a refuge from predators and to control body temperature. They often seek refuge in water to escape predators. Capybaras are very agile in water and can swim very fast. They can remain under water for up to 5 minutes. They can also sleep under water leaving their nose above the waterline in order to breathe. Their nostrils, eyes and ears are all located on the top of their head so they can remain submerged and almost completely hidden with just their nose, eyes and ears protruding above the water.   Capybaras have partially webbed feet.

Male Capybara Surrounded by Adoring Female Capybaras Nibbling Him and Vying for His Attention.  オスカピバラは、女性のカピバラを絶賛に囲まれています。

Male Capybara Surrounded by Adoring Female Capybaras Nibbling Him and Vying for His Attention. オスカピバラは、女性のカピバラを絶賛に囲まれています。

Most activities are located close to water. Capybaras always rest close to water. Most mating takes place in water. Capybaras defecate in water for preference, but will also defecate on land often to mark territory and send out a chemical signal.

This is a photo of the underside of a Capybara's front foot. Capybaras have partially webbed feet. They have 4 toes on each front foot and 3 toes on each hind foot

This is a photo of the underside of a Capybara’s front foot. Capybaras have partially webbed feet. They have 4 toes on each front foot and 3 toes on each hind foot

Territory and Habitat: The average size of territory is between 5 – 16 hectares, though can be much larger if vegetation is sparse. The capybara’s territory must provide sufficient resources to ensure survival if widely differing seasonal conditions pertain. The size of territory and the availability of water and food resources determines the size of the herd. The home territory must include a water hole, bushy scrub, patches of higher ground on which to avoid flooding at the height of the wet season and low-lying areas of grass. Bushy scrub provide shelter and is also essential for reproductive success as the females go off into the bushy scrub to give birth in part so that they are not visible to predators.

Lifespan: In the wild their lifespan averages 8 to 10 years. The oldest capybara kept in captivity lived to be 15 years old at Adelaide Zoo, in Australia.

Top speed on land: Capybaras can run very fast with a top speed of about 22 mph (35 km an hour).  They can run as fast as a small horse. They are very agile on land, although they are most at home in water.

Capybaras running in the wild

Capybaras running in the wild

Capybaras live in Herds, which vary in size. The size of the herd is related to the availability of critical resources like water and forage. Average group size is between 5 – 15 adults, though groups as large as 60 adults have been reported. In the Amazon rainforests of Peru some capybaras live in groups of 2 – 3 (one male and 2 females). Herds are hierarchical with a dominant male. Females in the group are thought to be related. The benefits of living in a group include protection from predators, access to mates, alloparenting (females share nursing and caring for the pups), and kin selection.

Capybaras stand on their hind legs and use their razor sharp teeth to bite their opponent when they are fighting for the dominant place in the hierarchy. Usually the subordinate capybara will run away rather than risk injury.   カピバラは戦うために後ろ足で立つ。鋭い歯相手を噛ま。下位のカピバラは通常逃げる。けがのリスクを望んでいない

Capybaras stand on their hind legs and use their razor sharp teeth to bite their opponent when they are fighting for the dominant place in the hierarchy. Usually the subordinate capybara will run away rather than risk injury. カピバラは戦うために後ろ足で立つ。鋭い歯相手を噛ま。下位のカピバラは通常逃げる。けがのリスクを望んでいない

 

In this photo of two male capybaras fighting in the wild, the male capybara on the right is challenging the capybara on the left for dominance of the herd. On this occasion the existing dominant capybara succeeds in chasing the challenger off his territory

In this photo of two male capybaras fighting in the wild, the male capybara on the right is challenging the capybara on the left for dominance of the herd. On this occasion the existing dominant capybara succeeds in chasing the challenger off his territory

Hierarchy: the most obvious feature of capybara society is the dominance hierarchy among males. The dominant male achieves this status through ritualised aggressive posturing which seldom leads to a fight as subordinate capybaras prefer not to fight and will usually run away to avoid injury. The dominant male is very often the largest male. The main advantage in being number one in the male hierarchy is access to receptive females. Female capybaras are more receptive to the dominant male than to the subordinate males. In the wild a female dominance hierarchy has not been observed. Hierarchy amongst females in captivity is primarily associated with feeding rights, i.e. access to the most food and the tastiest food, and can lead to fights.

Dominant males tolerate subordinate males in their herds as subordinate males play an important role in defending the territory by looking out for danger/predators. Subordinate males make more alarm calls than the dominant male and the females, and they are found on the fringes of the herd.

Capybara Eyesight: capybara’s rely more on their excellent hearing and sense of smell. Their eyesight is good but not outstanding. Capybaras they do not have good night vision.

Communication:   Communication is very important for capybaras as they live in a closed social unit with a complex social structure. Communication is by vocalisation and by chemical signalling, via two glands in both sexes, one on the nose called a morillo and via the anal glands.

Capybaras have outstanding hearing. They also communicate in the infrasonic and ultrasonic sound frequencies. Infrasonic refers to sounds at frequencies below those audible to the human ear, usually below 20 Hz. Ultrasonic refers to sounds above those audible to the human ear, usually above 20,000 Hz.

Capybaras have an excellent sense of smell. They can sense water from at least a distance of 1 mile away from the water source.

Vocalisations:   Capybaras make at least seven different sounds that appear to be group specific (i.e. slightly different in each herd). Capybaras also appear to have a slightly different call for each member of the herd. Capybaras vocalise frequently, with baby capybaras emitting a characteristic higher pitched squeak or chuckle perhaps to maintain contact among themselves and with their mother and other females. Keeping in touch with the herd is a matter of life or death for most capybaras in order to avoid predators. If there is a threat the adults may make a circle facing outwards around the young. Capybara’s vocalisations range from contented chuckles, through barks (used as a warning, a threat or to express excitement), plaintive squeaks, clicks and ultrasonic and infrasonic emissions inaudible to the human ear that can be felt as a vibration if you are next to the capybara.

The sound a capybara mother makes as her babies suckle is truly magical. She goes into a trance like state, her eyes glaze over and she starts to “sing”. She relaxes and seems to be very happy. Based on my observations it seems to me the sensation of the babies suckling at her teats maybe a very pleasurable one for a mother capybara.

 

The sound of a herd of capybara singing in unison is quite magical:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AbB3aufAcU

Female capybaras rub and nibble the male capybara and vocalise:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhDr6ocRRMI

The sound a capybara mother makes as her babies suckle is truly magical. She goes into a trance like state, her eyes glaze over and she starts to “sing”. She relaxes and seems to be very happy. Based on my observations it seems to me the sensation of the babies suckling at her teats maybe a very pleasurable one for a mother capybara:

4 year old female capybara calls. After a short while the male capybara appears. The female rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area of the male and marks by urinating. The male capybara rubs his morillo against the anal pocket/genital area of another female:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9z_1fXsq2k

For more information about the sounds capybaras make, and links to videos of capybaras calls, please see my blog:

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/

 

Courtship Behaviour. Male capybara (with back to camera) nuzzles female capybara under the chin.   求愛行動。(カメラに背を)男性カピバラはあごの下、女性カピバラニブル。

Courtship Behaviour. Male capybara (with back to camera) nuzzles female capybara under the chin. 求愛行動。(カメラに背を)男性カピバラはあごの下、女性カピバラニブル。

 

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

Scent Marking: Scent marking can convey a wide spectrum of information, including the marking of territory to defend limited resources, like the water hole, and as a mechanism for social cohesion by indicating group membership and individual identity. One of the main purposes of scent marking, particularly using the morillo, is thought to be to maintain social status, i.e. to maintain the strict social hierarchy in males. A female will often defecate in close proximity to a male, thereby sending out a chemical signal, to show her interest in him. The role of scent marking in the maintenance of social status cannot be overestimated.

Scent marking behaviour in capybaras is more common in males than females, but during courtship males and females mark with equal frequency and use both glands. A typical marking sequence for males involves rubbing the morrillo against a shrub or twig then straddling the plant, pressing the anal pocket onto it and sometimes simultaneously urinating on the plant.

Scent marking behaviour in capybaras is more common in males than females, but during courtship males and females mark with equal frequency and use both glands. A typical marking sequence for males involves rubbing the morrillo against a shrub or twig then straddling the plant, pressing the anal pocket onto it and sometimes simultaneously urinating on the plant.

Individual capybaras vary in the chemical composition of their secretions and this enables individual recognition from the scent marks.

Capybara Mating.  カピバラの交尾

Capybara Mating. カピバラの交尾

Male and female capybaras both have anal glands which they use to mark territory. A typical marking sequence for males and females involves rubbing the morillo against a shrub or twig (or in the case of pet capybaras against a familiar object or a favoured human), then straddling the plant or familiar object (the familiar object might be a shoe or cushion) and pressing the anal pocket onto it, and sometimes simultaneously urinating on it. During this process hairs from the anal pocket are detached and left as a marker. Dominant males mark more frequently than subordinate males.

Number one in the female hierarchy squeezes her anal scent glands as she walks by crossing her hind legs.  ナンバー1女性カピバラ。肛門香り腺を絞り。後ろ足を交配することによって歩く

Number one in the female hierarchy squeezes her anal scent glands as she walks by crossing her hind legs. ナンバー1女性カピバラ。肛門香り腺を絞り。後ろ足を交配することによって歩く

Morillo: Capybaras have a glossy nose gland called a morillo which they use to send out a chemical signal. More dominant males have a larger morillo compared to subordinate males. Some female capybaras have a larger morillo than some males so this is not an infallible guide as to the sex of a capybara. The morillo may be a visual signal of dominance.

Male Capybara Morillo.  オスのカピバラのmorillo

Male Capybara Morillo. オスのカピバラのmorillo

During courtship male and female capybaras mark with equal frequency using both glands. During courtship the male may rub his morillo on a female capybara, often on her neck or back, during the mating ritual, while the female may rub her morillo on the neck or back of the male and nibble him on his neck under the chin, something which appears to give the male great pleasure. Video: Capybara Courtship Rituals, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SxKHZrcRDc

It is tempting to anthropomorphise what is going on in this video between Hinase, a 3-year-old female capybara who has never been pregnant and may never have even mated before, and Toku, the new breeding male (Boss Capy) at Nagasaki Bio Park. They both looked very interested in each other, sniffing each other’s bottoms, marking the bamboo, doing that walk where they cross their legs to squeeze their anal scent glands. At about 5.40 mins Hinase squats in front of Toku as if she would like him to mount her. You can hear her excited vocalisations. Somehow they don’t quite seem to understand what the other wants.  Hinase’s behaviour contrasts with Momiji, a very experienced capybara and mother of at least 3 litters, in my video ” Capybara Mating Rituals at Nagasaki Bio Park長崎バイオパークのカピバラ交尾”.   Momiji is very experienced and immediately squats down in front of Toku in the lordosis position and lets him mate, many times over.

I watched Hinase and Toku many times over the course of a month, and she reminded me very much of a teenage girl in love, but shy and inexperienced, wanting Toku to prove his love for her before letting him mate!

The number one in the female hierarchy rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area, and sniffs it, of a female capybara who has been in a separate enclosure for about 10 weeks while she gave birth. This is her first day back with the herd.  女性のカピバラ(メス階層内ナンバーワン)は、バックカピバラをお待ちしております。 morilloをこすり、ボトムをにおいがする。彼女は出産10週間別々の筐体になっています。バック群れで初日

The number one in the female hierarchy rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area, and sniffs it, of a female capybara who has been in a separate enclosure for about 10 weeks while she gave birth. This is her first day back with the herd. 女性のカピバラ(メス階層内ナンバーワン)は、バックカピバラをお待ちしております。 morilloをこすり、ボトムをにおいがする。彼女は出産10週間別々の筐体になっています。バック群れで初日

Reproduction: Capybaras give birth year round but frequency of mating tends to be more intense at the beginning of the wet season. In the wild females tend to breed when they reach a body weight of 35 to 40 kg, which usually occurs at one and a half to two years of age. Females isolate themselves from the herd to give birth and for a few days thereafter.

Alloparenting.   Mother capybara is nursing two of her own pups. The third pup was born to a capybara who is related to her. Her mother is the grandmother of the mother of the other baby capybara. The pups share the same father.   群れの女性カピバラは関連しています。の赤ちゃんはどんな母親を授乳することができます。ただ、母を所有してい。

Alloparenting. Mother capybara is nursing two of her own pups. The third pup was born to a capybara who is related to her. Her mother is the grandmother of the mother of the other baby capybara. The pups share the same father. 群れの女性カピバラは関連しています。の赤ちゃんはどんな母親を授乳することができます。ただ、母を所有してい。

Age of sexual maturity averages 15 months. Litter size depends in part on the age of the mother (it peaks when the mother is 4 – 5 years old) and averages 4 – 7 pups, however smaller numbers of pups are not uncommon. Litter size can be as large as 8 pups. Gestation varies between 147 – 156 days. Female capybaras give birth synchronously (often within a two-week period) and communally nurse the young (called alloparenting) meaning that a baby capybara may suckle from any lactating female. The number of teats a female capybara has varies from 10 – 12 (5 – 6 pairs).

Estrus: The average duration of the estrus cycle is 7.5 days. The receptive period lasts just 8 hours. This very short period of sexual receptivity appears to help dominant males have exclusive access to females as it is very unlikely that two females will be receptive at the same time, thus allowing the dominant male a greater chance of mating with the receptive female. Capybaras produce no external physical signs of being in estrus. During estrus, the female becomes receptive to the male and copulation usually takes place in water. The female moves in and out of the water, followed by the male, until she demonstrates receptivity by adopting the lordosis position. The male initiates courtship by scent marking and sniffing the female’s sexual organ. The dominant male will mate more frequently than the subordinate males, but the total number of matings by subordinate males is greater than for each dominant male. The short estrus cycle favours the dominant male by reducing sperm competition.

Male capybara sniffs female capybaras anal glands. The male capybara in this photo was much more interested in the female than the tasty watermelon which was on offer.   オスカピバラ、女性のカピバラ肛門香り腺におい。

Male capybara sniffs female capybaras anal glands. The male capybara in this photo was much more interested in the female than the tasty watermelon which was on offer. オスカピバラ、女性のカピバラ肛門香り腺におい。

Video: Capybara Mating Rituals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUDXrnv9B-w

Capybara Pups at Birth: Capybaras are born precocial, with their eyes open and covered with fur. They are capable of moving shortly after birth and eating solid food within a few days of birth although they continue to drink their mother’s or any lactating female’s milk. The pups are weaned at approximately 16 weeks of age. The average weight of a pup born in the wild is 1.5 kg (about 3lbs), although pups born in captivity may weigh 2 kg (about 4 lbs).

Lifestyle: Capybaras are diurnal by nature, but many have become nocturnal in the wild to avoid being hunted by humans and predators. Capybaras are most active during the afternoon and night.

Predators: include Jaguar, Puma, Caiman (in water) and the Anaconda. The young are also attacked by snakes such as the Boa Constrictor, crab eating foxes, small cats and birds such as black vultures and the caracara. However humans pose the greatest threat to capybaras through hunting, both legal and illegal, and through habitat loss. Close to urban areas they also fall prey to packs of feral dogs.

Disease: Capybaras are resilient animals and in the wild the main cause of death is not disease, but rather predation, old age or malnutrition. Although they may carry a wide range of parasites, including ticks, and other diseases, they appear to be largely resistant to the effect of these.

Sun: In the wild capybaras are of course outside all day. Some pet capybaras have had severe bone problems as a result of not getting enough exposure to the sun because they were kept inside the house. It is essential that capybaras spend time outside every day, at least 6-8 hours, additionally in most parts of the USA it is recommended that broad spectrum lighting be placed in the indoor resting area in an overlapping pattern, as close to the pet as deemed safe;  and that a fresh bulb replace the used bulb every 6 months.

Stress: capybaras are susceptible to stress and chronic stress will undermine their health. They experience a number of behavioural and physiological responses to stress. Capybaras can be highly stressed by changes in their environment.

Capybaras Are Very Affectionate. Mother is Nuzzled By 5 Month Old Son. カピバラ非常に愛情。赤ちゃんニブル母

Diet: Capybaras are herbivores and their diet in their natural habitat consists of grasses, aquatic plants, sedges and bark. 70% of the capybaras diet in the wild consists of grasses and sedges. Capybaras spend 31% of the day grazing during the wet season and 42% during the dry season. It is essential that captive capybaras follow a diet that replicates as closely as possible their natural diet in the wild, and for which their digestive system (hindgut fermentation) has evolved over millions of years. They are particularly susceptible to sugars and carbohydrates.

Fruit is not part of the natural diet of a capybara. Eating fruit is potentially harmful and has been linked to liver and heart problems. Eating fruit can also cause diarrhoea leading to death. There is a lot of misinformation on the subject of capybara diet on the Internet. Put simply – Fruit Should Not Be Fed to Capybaras.

“What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?”: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-capybara/

Capybara Teeth. Capybara Yawns.  カピバラ歯。カピバラのあくび。

Capybara Teeth. Capybara Yawns. カピバラ歯。カピバラのあくび。

Capybara Teeth: Capybara’s, like horses and rabbits, teeth keep on growing throughout their life. These are known as hypsodont teeth.  This adaptation extends the life of the teeth and therefore the life of the animal. They are able to reduce the plants they eat to very small particles which aids the absorption of nutrients.  Capybara teeth are razor sharp.

Capybaras often chew on stones, bark or twigs to keep their teeth healthy:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYTs5VewHs

Seawater: Capybaras have a low tolerance for brackish water (salt water).

14 month old female Capybara Eating Her Cecotropes. を食べる

14 month old female Capybara Eating Her Cecotropes. cecotropesを食べる

Cecotrophy: The capybara diet is highly fibrous and nutritionally low in value. Cecotrophy allows the capybara to digest more nutrients from an otherwise low nutrient diet and maximise the absorption of protein. The ‘cecotrophy’ excreta is different in composition to the usual oval shaped faeces, and contains up to 37% more protein and 30% less fibrous material, depending on the diet. Capybaras most often practice cecotrophy in the early morning hours when protein content is highest. This type of reingestion to obtain more nutrients is similar to the chewing of cud in cattle.

Evolution: Caviomorph rodents are one of the most noteworthy groups of mammals in South America. Isolated for more than 30 million years, they have given rise to two giant rodents: Phoberomys from about 6 million years ago, which probably weighed more than 400 kg, and Josephoartigasia Monesi from about 2.5 million years ago which weighed about 1000 kg.

The ancestors of today’s caviomorphs probably came to South America from Africa by raft about 41 million years ago. During the Pleistocene – Holocene period (2.5 Ma to recent) capybaras (Neochoerus and Hydrochoerus) ranged from southern North America to central Argentina. About 3.5 million years ago, capybara dispersed to North America across the Panamanian land bridge. Neochoerus Pinckneyi is an extinct Capybara species that lived in the southern half of North America. Fossil remains have been found in Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona and Central America. It is thought to have weighed about 200 lbs, making it approximately twice as large as Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (modern capybara). Fossil remains in North America suggest it lived about 500,000 years ago and became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

Capybaras That Are Used to Humans Love to Be Petted.  カピバラ撫でするのが大好き。それらは人間に使用されている場合

Capybaras That Are Used to Humans Love to Be Petted. カピバラ撫でするのが大好き。それらは人間に使用されている場合

Conservation Status: although Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris as a whole is not threatened with extinction in some places populations have disappeared. Capybaras in north-eastern Brazil and the Chaco Seco region of Argentina are under threat due to hunting by man. In the Llanos of Venezuela and Colombia populations are also at risk and local extinctions are possible.

Common name:       Capybara
Scientific name:       Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Kingdom:                  Animalia
Phylum:                    Chordata
Class:                         Mammalia
Order:                        Rodentia
Family:                      Caviidae
Genus:                       Hydrochoerus

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Capybara Facts and Information (Hydrochoerus Hydrochaeris). More detailed version:

Adult Female Capybara, 6 years old.  成人女性カピバラ。 6歳

Adult Female Capybara, 6 years old. 成人女性カピバラ。 6歳

The capybara has attracted the attention of explorers and writers to South America from the 16th century onward. They were struck by both its size and its gregariousness and relative tameness. The capybara is the last survivor of a long line of gigantic grass eating rodents that evolved in South America over millions of years. The salient feature of capybara behaviour is undoubtedly their gregariousness.   It is the world’s largest rodent.

Scientific name: Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris.

In the past capybaras were also known as Water Pig.

The name, capybara, originates from a word in the language of the indigenous Tupi people (ka’pii which means grass + gwara which means eater). The language of the Tupi was the most widely spoken language in South America in the 16th century and means grass eater although the translation “Master of the Grasses” is more poetic and reflects their diet and to some extent their habitat. There are many, many different names for the capybara in South America, the most common of these include: carpincho, capivara, chiguire, ronsoco.

There are 2 species of capybara:    The less common species is the Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus Isthmius) found in eastern Panama, northwestern Colombia and western Venezuela. This is a scientifically distinct species with anatomical differences, a smaller size and genetic differences. The species is fairly common in Panama but increasingly rare in Venezuela. It is threatened by subsistence hunting, the destruction of forested areas and the drainage of swamps. The Lesser Capybara breeds year round, with an average litter size of 3.5 pups. Individuals may be diurnal or nocturnal and solitary or social depending on season, habitat and hunting pressure.

Geographical Location:   Capybaras, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, are found in Central and South America from Panama to Northern Argentina primarily east of the Andes. They inhabit several types of wetland including gallery forest along rivers, mangroves and marshes. Capybaras reach their highest densities in the seasonally flooded savannas of the Llanos of Venezuela and Colombia, and the Pantanal of the Mato Grosso and on Marajo island in Brazil. They are always found in close proximity to water. The highest altitude at which capybaras are found is 4, 500 feet (1500 m). The only South American country with no capybaras is Chile.

6 Week Old Baby Capybara Sleeping.   6週齢の赤ちゃんカピバラは眠る

6 Week Old Baby Capybara Sleeping. 6週齢の赤ちゃんカピバラは眠る

Size and Weight: An adult capybara is large! Adult capybaras weigh on average from 40 to 50 kg in the wild (range 35 – 65 kg). In captivity the average weight is between 50 – 60 kg for a healthy capybara. There is no difference in weight between the sexes, but there are differences in size across the capybaras’ geographical distribution, with capybaras in Venezuela smaller than those of central and south eastern Brazil and Argentina, and those found in north-eastern Brazil being smaller still. In length they average about 4 feet (1.2 m) and are up to 2 feet tall (.60 m).

Physical Description:   Capybaras’ skin is thick and sparsely covered with coarse, oily water-resistant fur, varying in colour: red, grey, brown and straw coloured. Some black hairs can be found on the face, rump and limbs. Capybaras have a vestigial tail but this is not visible from a distance. The front legs are shorter than the hind legs. The feet are partially webbed with four toes on the front feet and three toes on the hind feet. The head is large with the nostrils, eyes and ears (which are small and hairless with a mobile fold that closes the ear canal when they submerge) located on the top of their head, so they can hear, smell and see while remaining almost completely submerged, an adaptation to their semi aquatic lifestyle which allows them to keep a lookout for any dangers while remaining almost invisible.

    The Vestigial Tail of a Capybara (by the little red arrow).   カピバラの痕跡尾。 (赤い矢印で)

The Vestigial Tail of a Capybara (by the little red arrow). カピバラの痕跡尾。 (赤い矢印で)

Semi aquatic lifestyle: Access to water is essential for capybaras. Capybaras’ territory always includes water which is used both as a refuge from predators and to control body temperature. They often seek refuge in water to escape predators (except the Cayman, which will rarely attack a capybara on land, but will often attack a capybara in water). Capybaras are very agile in water and can swim very fast. They can spend long hours in water, in part to thermoregulate (maintain a lower body temperature) as their sweat glands are not well developed. They can remain under water for up to 5 minutes.

Male Capybara Surrounded by Adoring Female Capybaras Nibbling Him and Vying for His Attention.  オスカピバラは、女性のカピバラを絶賛に囲まれています。

Male Capybara Surrounded by Adoring Female Capybaras Nibbling Him and Vying for His Attention. オスカピバラは、女性のカピバラを絶賛に囲まれています。

Most activities are located close to the water hole. Capybaras always rest close to water. The distance from the main grazing areas to the nearest pond is never more than 300 m. Most mating takes place in water. Capybaras defecate in water for preference, but will also defecate on land often to mark territory and send out a chemical signal.

Territory and Habitat: The average size of territory is between 5 – 16 hectares, though can be much larger if vegetation is sparse. The capybara’s territory must provide sufficient resources to ensure survival under widely differing seasonal conditions. The size of territory and the availability of water and food resources determines the size of the herd. The home territory must include a water hole, bushy scrub, patches of higher ground on which to avoid flooding at the height of the wet season and low-lying areas of grass. Bushy scrub is crucial in the wet season as it provides essential food and shelter. Bushy scrub is also essential for reproductive success as the females go off into the bushy scrub to give birth in part so that they are not visible to predators. Low-lying areas of grass, being closer to the water table, are essential to sustain the herd in the dry season.

When threatened a capybara will usually take to the water as it seeks refuge. Capybaras can remain under water for up to 5 minutes. They can also sleep under water leaving their nose above the waterline in order to breathe. Their nostrils, eyes and ears are all located on the top of their head so they can remain submerged and almost completely hidden with just their nose, eyes and ears protruding above the water.

Lifespan: In the wild their lifespan averages 8 to 10 years. The oldest capybara kept in captivity lived to be 15 years old at Adelaide Zoo, in Australia.

Top speed on land:   Capybaras can run very fast with a top speed of about 22 mph (35 km an hour).  They can run as fast as a small horse. They are very agile on land, although they are most at home in water.

Capybaras running in the wild

Capybaras running in the wild

Capybaras live in Herds, which vary in size. The size of the herd is related to the availability of critical resources like water and forage. Average group size is between 5 – 15 adults, though groups as large as 60 adults have been reported. There is no advantage in having a larger group size with regard to shared vigilance for predators and reproductive success. In the Amazon rainforests of Peru some capybaras live in groups of 2 – 3 (one male and 2 females). Herds are hierarchical with a dominant male. Females in the group are thought to be related. The benefits of living in a group include protection from predators, access to mates, alloparenting (females share nursing and caring for the pups), and kin selection.

Capybaras stand on their hind legs and use their razor sharp teeth to bite their opponent when they are fighting for the dominant place in the hierarchy. Usually the subordinate capybara will run away rather than risk injury.   カピバラは戦うために後ろ足で立つ。鋭い歯相手を噛ま。下位のカピバラは通常逃げる。けがのリスクを望んでいない

Capybaras stand on their hind legs and use their razor sharp teeth to bite their opponent when they are fighting for the dominant place in the hierarchy. Usually the subordinate capybara will run away rather than risk injury. カピバラは戦うために後ろ足で立つ。鋭い歯相手を噛ま。下位のカピバラは通常逃げる。けがのリスクを望んでいない

 

 

In this photo of two male capybaras fighting in the wild, the male capybara on the right is challenging the capybara on the left for dominance of the herd. On this occasion the existing dominant capybara succeeds in chasing the challenger off his territory

In this photo of two male capybaras fighting in the wild, the male capybara on the right is challenging the capybara on the left for dominance of the herd. On this occasion the existing dominant capybara succeeds in chasing the challenger off his territory

Hierarchy:   The most obvious feature of capybara society is the dominance hierarchy among males. The dominant male achieves this status through ritualised aggressive posturing which seldom leads to a fight as subordinate capybaras prefer not to fight and will usually run away to avoid injury. The dominant male is very often the largest male. The main advantage in being number one in the male hierarchy is access to receptive females. Female capybaras are more receptive to the dominant male than to the subordinate males. In the wild a female dominance hierarchy has not been observed. Hierarchy amongst females in captivity is primarily associated with feeding rights, i.e. access to the most food and the tastiest food, and can lead to fights.

Dominant males tolerate subordinate males in their herds as subordinate males play an important role in defending the territory by being vigilant, looking out for danger/predators. Subordinate males make more alarm calls than the dominant male and the females, and they are found on the fringes of the herd.

Capybara Eyesight: capybara’s rely more on their excellent hearing and sense of smell. Their eyesight is good but not outstanding. Capybaras they do not have good night vision.

Communication:   Communication is very important for capybaras as they live in a closed social unit with a complex social structure. Communication is by vocalisation and by chemical signalling, via two glands in both sexes, one on the nose called a morillo and via the anal glands.

Capybaras have outstanding hearing. They also communicate in the infrasonic and ultrasonic sound frequencies. Infrasonic refers to sounds at frequencies below those audible to the human ear, usually below 20 Hz. Ultrasonic refers to sounds above those audible to the human ear, usually above 20,000 Hz.

Capybaras have an excellent sense of smell. They can sense water from at least a distance of 1 mile away from the water source.

Vocalisations:   Capybaras make at least seven different sounds that appear to be group specific (i.e. slightly different in each herd). Capybaras also appear to have a slightly different call for each member of the herd. Capybaras vocalise frequently, with baby capybaras emitting a characteristic higher pitched squeak or chuckle perhaps to maintain contact among themselves and with their mother and other females. Keeping in touch with the herd is a matter of life or death for most capybaras in order to avoid predators. If there is a threat the adults may make a circle facing outwards around the young. Capybara’s vocalisations range from contented chuckles, through barks (used as a warning, a threat or to express excitement), plaintive squeaks, clicks and ultrasonic emissions inaudible to the human ear that can be felt as a vibration if you are next to the capybara.

The sound a capybara mother makes as her babies suckle is truly magical. She goes into a trance like state, her eyes glaze over and she starts to “sing”. She relaxes and seems to be very happy. Based on my observations it seems to me the sensation of the babies suckling at her teats maybe a very pleasurable one for a mother capybara:

The sound of a herd of capybara singing in unison is quite magical:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AbB3aufAcU

Female capybaras rub and nibble the male capybara and vocalise:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhDr6ocRRMI

4 year old female capybara calls. After a short while the male capybara appears. The female rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area of the male and marks by urinating. The male capybara rubs his morillo against the anal pocket/genital area of another female:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9z_1fXsq2k

Number one in the female hierarchy squeezes her anal scent glands as she walks by crossing her hind legs.  ナンバー1女性カピバラ。肛門香り腺を絞り。後ろ足を交配することによって歩く

Number one in the female hierarchy squeezes her anal scent glands as she walks by crossing her hind legs. ナンバー1女性カピバラ。肛門香り腺を絞り。後ろ足を交配することによって歩く

 

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

For more information about the sounds capybaras make, and links to videos of capybaras calls, please see my blog:

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/

Scent Marking:   Scent marking is the most common type of social interaction amongst capybaras in the wild. Scent marking can convey a wide spectrum of information, including the marking of territory to defend limited resources, like the water hole, and as a mechanism for social cohesion by indicating group membership and individual identity. One of the main purposes of scent marking, particularly using the morillo, is thought to be to maintain social status, i.e. to maintain the strict social hierarchy in males. A female will often defecate in close proximity to a male, thereby sending out a chemical signal, to show her interest in him. Female capybaras often mark just after the dominant male, possibly to show their association with him as well as to show their membership of the group. The role of scent marking in the maintenance of social status cannot be overestimated. In rodents in general the most common function of scent marking appears to be status signalling i.e. the scent marking behaviour and the chemistry of the secretion are related to social dominance.

Scent marking behaviour in capybaras is more common in males than females, but during courtship males and females mark with equal frequency and use both glands. A typical marking sequence for males involves rubbing the morrillo against a shrub or twig then straddling the plant, pressing the anal pocket onto it and sometimes simultaneously urinating on the plant.

Scent marking behaviour in capybaras is more common in males than females, but during courtship males and females mark with equal frequency and use both glands. A typical marking sequence for males involves rubbing the morrillo against a shrub or twig then straddling the plant, pressing the anal pocket onto it and sometimes simultaneously urinating on the plant.

As capybaras in the wild are often active during the night, to avoid predators including man, chemical communication is especially safe and effective.

Courtship Behaviour. Male capybara (with back to camera) nuzzles female capybara under the chin.   求愛行動。(カメラに背を)男性カピバラはあごの下、女性カピバラニブル。

Courtship Behaviour. Male capybara (with back to camera) nuzzles female capybara under the chin. 求愛行動。(カメラに背を)男性カピバラはあごの下、女性カピバラニブル。

Male and female capybaras both have anal glands which they use to mark territory. Capybaras do a characteristic walk crossing their hind legs as they walk to release scent from their anal gland. A typical marking sequence for males and females involves rubbing the morillo against a shrub or twig (or in the case of pet capybaras against a familiar object or a favoured human), then straddling the plant or familiar object (the familiar object might be a shoe or cushion) and pressing the anal pocket onto it, and sometimes simultaneously urinating on it. During this process hairs from the anal pocket are detached and left as a marker. Dominant males mark more frequently than subordinate males.

The anal glands in both male and female capybaras are located beside and below the anus, in a chamber which contains the urogenital and anal pocket openings. The male anal pocket is like an open pouch and contains very short hairs which are clearly visible. The female anal pocket is a relatively deep chamber which opens through a constricted neck. Larger more dominant females produce a greater quantity of secretions. The chemical components of both male and female secretions vary from individual to individual, allowing other capybaras to recognise which capybara deposited the secretion.

It is tempting to anthropomorphise what is going on in this video between Hinase, a 3-year-old female capybara who has never been pregnant and may never have even mated before, and Toku, the new breeding male (Boss Capy) at Nagasaki Bio Park. They both looked very interested in each other, sniffing each other’s bottoms, marking the bamboo, doing that walk where they cross their legs to squeeze their anal scent glands. At about 5.40 mins Hinase squats in front of Toku as if she would like him to mount her. You can hear her excited vocalisations. Somehow they don’t quite seem to understand what the other wants.  Hinase’s behaviour contrasts with Momiji, a very experienced capybara and mother of at least 3 litters, in my video ” Capybara Mating Rituals at Nagasaki Bio Park長崎バイオパークのカピバラ交尾”.   Momiji is very experienced and immediately squats down in front of Toku in the lordosis position and lets him mate, many times over.

I watched Hinase and Toku many times over the course of a month, and she reminded me very much of a teenage girl in love, but shy and inexperienced, wanting Toku to prove his love for her before letting him mate!

The number one in the female hierarchy rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area, and sniffs it, of a female capybara who has been in a separate enclosure for about 10 weeks while she gave birth. This is her first day back with the herd.  女性のカピバラ(メス階層内ナンバーワン)は、バックカピバラをお待ちしております。 morilloをこすり、ボトムをにおいがする。彼女は出産10週間別々の筐体になっています。バック群れで初日

The number one in the female hierarchy rubs her morillo against the anal pocket/genital area, and sniffs it, of a female capybara who has been in a separate enclosure for about 10 weeks while she gave birth. This is her first day back with the herd. 女性のカピバラ(メス階層内ナンバーワン)は、バックカピバラをお待ちしております。 morilloをこすり、ボトムをにおいがする。彼女は出産10週間別々の筐体になっています。バック群れで初日

Morillo:   Capybaras have a glossy nose gland called a morillo which they use to to send out a chemical signal by marking territory etc. The size of the morillo increases with age up to 25 months after which any increase in size is not related to age. More dominant males have a larger morillo compared to subordinate males. Males with larger testes and higher levels of testosterone have larger morillos. Some female capybaras have a larger morillo than some males so this is not an infallible guide as to the sex of a capybara. The morillo may be a visual signal of dominance.

Male Capybara Morillo.  オスのカピバラのmorillo

Male Capybara Morillo. オスのカピバラのmorillo

During courtship male and female capybaras mark with equal frequency using both glands. During courtship the male may rub his morillo on a female capybara, often on her neck or back, during the mating ritual, while the female may rub her morillo on the neck or back of the male and nibble him on his neck under the chin, something which appears to give the male great pleasure. Video: Capybara Courtship Rituals, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SxKHZrcRDc

Reproduction:   Capybaras give birth year round but frequency of mating tends to be more intense at the beginning of the wet season. In the wild females tend to breed when they reach a body weight of 35 to 40 kg, which usually occurs at one and a half to two years of age. Females isolate themselves from the herd to give birth and for a few days thereafter.

Alloparenting.   Mother capybara is nursing two of her own pups. The third pup was born to a capybara who is related to her. Her mother is the grandmother of the mother of the other baby capybara. The pups share the same father.   群れの女性カピバラは関連しています。の赤ちゃんはどんな母親を授乳することができます。ただ、母を所有してい。

Alloparenting. Mother capybara is nursing two of her own pups. The third pup was born to a capybara who is related to her. Her mother is the grandmother of the mother of the other baby capybara. The pups share the same father. 群れの女性カピバラは関連しています。の赤ちゃんはどんな母親を授乳することができます。ただ、母を所有してい。

Age of sexual maturity averages 15 months (influenced by local climate and resource availability), but may be younger in the wild. Female capybaras reach puberty between 10 and 12 months of age. Litter size depends in part on the age of the mother (it peaks when the mother is 4 – 5 years old) and averages 4 – 7 pups, however smaller numbers of pups are not uncommon. Litter size can be as large as 8 pups. Gestation varies between 147 – 156 days. Female capybaras give birth synchronously (often within a two-week period) and communally nurse the young (called alloparenting) meaning that a baby capybara may suckle from any lactating female. The number of teats a female capybara has varies from 10 – 12 (5 – 6 pairs).

Reproductive suppression has been observed in various social rodents, and appears to be related to alloparenting (the co-operative rearing of young). In the case of capybaras not all females in a herd are reproductively active; reproductive suppression of subordinate females in the presence of the dominant female has been observed in captive capybaras.

Capybara Mating.  カピバラの交尾

Capybara Mating. カピバラの交尾

Capybaras are unusual in that, despite being the largest rodent, the size of their testicles is one of the smallest among rodents as a percentage of their body weight. This suggests that there is low sperm competition among capybara males. Capybaras appear to invest more in the production of testosterone than in the production of sperm, which might be an adaptation designed to maintain a strict dominance hierarchy year round. The very short period of sexual receptivity (8 hours) also appears to help dominant males have exclusive access to females as it is very unlikely that two females will be receptive at the same time, thus allowing the dominant male a greater chance of mating with the receptive female.

Estrus:   The average duration of the estrus cycle is 7.5 days. The receptive period lasts just 8 hours. Capybaras produce no external physical signs of being in estrus. During estrus, the female becomes receptive to the male and copulation usually takes place in water. The female moves in and out of the water, followed by the male, until she demonstrates receptivity by adopting the lordosis position. The male initiates courtship by scent marking and sniffing the female’s sexual organ. The male will mount the female many times over the course of an hour or more, and ultimately ejaculate for about 3 seconds. The dominant male will mate more frequently than the subordinate males, but the total number of matings by subordinate males is greater than for each dominant male. The short estrus cycle favours the dominant male by reducing sperm competition.

Male capybara sniffs female capybaras anal glands. The male capybara in this photo was much more interested in the female than the tasty watermelon which was on offer.   オスカピバラ、女性のカピバラ肛門香り腺におい。

Male capybara sniffs female capybaras anal glands. The male capybara in this photo was much more interested in the female than the tasty watermelon which was on offer. オスカピバラ、女性のカピバラ肛門香り腺におい。

Video: Capybara Mating Rituals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUDXrnv9B-w

Capybara Pups at Birth:   Capybaras are born precocial, with their eyes open and covered with fur. They are capable of moving shortly after birth and eating solid food within a few days of birth although they continue to drink their mother’s or any lactating female’s milk. The pups are weaned at approximately 16 weeks of age. The average weight of a pup born in the wild is 1.5 kg (about 3lbs), although pups born in captivity may weigh 2 kg (about 4 lbs).

Lifestyle:   Capybaras are diurnal by nature, but many have become nocturnal in the wild to avoid being hunted by humans and predators. Capybaras are most active during the afternoon and night.

Predators:   include Jaguar, Puma, Caiman (in water) and the Anaconda. The young are also attacked by snakes such as the Boa Constrictor, crab eating foxes, small wildcats and birds such as black vultures and the caracara. However humans pose the greatest threat to capybaras through hunting, both legal and illegal, and through habitat loss. Close to urban areas they also fall prey to packs of feral dogs.

Disease: Capybaras are resilient animals and in the wild the main cause of death is not disease, but rather predation, old age or malnutrition. Although they may carry a wide range of parasites, including ticks, and other diseases, they appear to be largely resistant to the effect of these.

Scabies: Scabies (a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites which burrow into the skin, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei) is highly contagious and must be treated.Ivermectin is recommended to control ticks and for the treatment of scabies. Symptoms of scabies include constant scratching and localised loss of hair.

Scurvy: Capybaras lack the enzyme that converts glucose to ascorbic acid (vitamin C), therefore vitamin C is an essential component of their diet. It is found in many guinea pig feed products. In the wild capybaras are able to find sufficient vitamin C in their natural diet. The symptoms of scurvy include listlessness, bleeding gums and nose, loss of teeth, brittle bones and eventually death.

Sun: In the wild capybaras are of course outside all day. Some pet capybaras have had severe bone problems as a result of not getting enough exposure to the sun because they were kept inside the house. It is essential that capybaras spend time outside every day, at least 6-8 hours, additionally in most parts of the USA it is recommended that broad spectrum lighting be placed in the indoor resting area in an overlapping pattern, as close to the pet as deemed safe;  and that a fresh bulb replace the used bulb every 6 months.

Stress:   Capybaras are susceptible to stress and chronic stress will undermine their health. They experience a number of behavioural and physiological responses to stress. Symptoms of stress include changes in behaviour such as permanent vigilance or increased signs of alertness, a decrease in exploratory behaviour, an increase in aggressive behaviour and a reduction in the behavioural repertoire. Heart and breathing rates increase, glucose metabolism increases, the effects of which if long-lasting can damage the brain. Capybaras can be highly stressed by changes in their environment.

Capybaras Are Very Affectionate. Mother is Nuzzled By 5 Month Old Son. カピバラ非常に愛情。赤ちゃんニブル母

Capybaras Are Very Affectionate. Mother is Nuzzled By 5 Month Old Son. カピバラ非常に愛情。赤ちゃんニブル母

Diet:   Capybaras are herbivores and their diet in their natural habitat consists of grasses, aquatic plants, sedges and bark. 70% of the capybaras’ diet in the wild consists of grasses and sedges. Capybaras spend 31% of the day grazing during the wet season and 42% during the dry season. It is essential that captive capybaras follow a diet that replicates as closely as possible their natural diet in the wild, and for which their digestive system (hindgut fermentation) has evolved over millions of years. They are particularly susceptible to sugars and carbohydrates.

Fruit is not part of the natural diet of a capybara. Eating fruit is potentially harmful and has been linked to liver and heart problems. Eating fruit can also cause diarrhoea leading to death. There is a lot of misinformation on the subject of capybara diet on the Internet. Put simply – Fruit Should Not Be Fed to Capybaras.

“What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?”: https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/what-should-i-feed-my-pet-capybara/

Capybara Teeth. Capybara Yawns.  カピバラ歯。カピバラのあくび。

Capybara Teeth. Capybara Yawns. カピバラ歯。カピバラのあくび。

Capybara Teeth:    Another striking feature of capybara is their unpaired, ever-growing cheek teeth whose very complicated occlusal surface design changes throughout the capybara’s life. Capybaras like horses and rabbits have high crowned teeth, known as hypsodont teeth, an adaptation to extend the life of teeth and therefore the life of the animal. In these teeth the roots delay their development and the crown keeps on growing throughout the life of the animal. In capybaras the occlusal morphology of their cheek teeth is so peculiar that a special nomenclature (system of names) had to be developed to describe them! This very intricate occlusal surface design grows more complex throughout the capybara’s life. They are able to reduce the plants they eat to very small particles which aids the absorption of nutrients.   Capybara teeth are razor sharp.

Capybaras often chew on stones, bark or twigs to keep their teeth healthy:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYTs5VewHs

Seawater:   Capybaras have a low tolerance for brackish water (salt water).

14 month old female Capybara Eating Her Cecotropes. cecotropesを食べる

14 month old female Capybara Eating Her Cecotropes. cecotropesを食べる

Capybaras Are Unusual in Several Ways:   To quote from the book “Capybara, Biology, Use and Conservation of an Exceptional Neotropical Species”: “Capybaras are not merely unusual, they are extraordinary … Their biology is exceptional”. Other ways in which capybaras are unusual include: they are the only rodents with subcutaneous sweat glands; they appear to have a very strong immune system allowing them to resist many parasitic infections; they are unique among rodents in having a nasal gland, the morillo; with further study other unusual aspects of this extraordinary animal may come to light.

Cecotrophy:   The capybara diet is highly fibrous and nutritionally low in value. Cecotrophy allows the capybara to digest more nutrients from an otherwise low nutrient diet and maximise the absorption of protein. The ‘cecotrophy’ excreta is different in composition to the usual oval shaped faeces, and contains up to 37% more protein and 30% less fibrous material, depending on the diet.

Cecotrophy in capybaras varies in frequency and it can even stop altogether when food is rich in protein. It is most frequent when the nutritional quality of the diet is low. In wild populations there is a higher occurrence of cecotrophy during the dry season when food is scarce and lacking nutrients. Capybaras, with their highly efficient mastication and long retention time of undigested compounds in the cecum, can efficiently digest fibrous feedstuffs. (In rabbits large particles are barely fermented and the effect of cecotrophy on fibre digestibility is low.)

The average retention time of roughage in the digestive tract of capybaras is 12 (+/- 1.9) hours.

The process by which cecotropes are produced is called “hindgut fermentation”. Food passes through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, where nutrients are initially absorbed ineffectively, and then into the colon. Through reverse peristalsis, the food is forced back into the cecum where it is broken down into simple sugars (i.e. monosaccharides) by bacterial fermentation. The cecotrope then passes through the colon, the anus, and is eliminated by the animal and then reingested. The process occurs 4 to 8 hours after eating. This type of reingestion to obtain more nutrients is similar to the chewing of cud in cattle.

Capybaras most often practice cecotrophy in the early morning hours when protein content is highest.

Evolution:   Caviomorph rodents are one of the most noteworthy groups of mammals in South America. Isolated for more than 30 million years, they have given rise to several extraordinary rodents including the pacas, cavies, vizcachas, agoutis, as well as 2 giants: Phoberomys, from the late Miocene (6 Ma; mega annum = million years) which probably weighed more than 400 kg, and Josephoartigasia Monesi probably from the Pleistocene (2.5 Ma) at about 1000 kg. Capybaras are undoubtedly related to the living cavies and their extinct relatives.

The ancestors of today’s caviomorphs probably came to South America from Africa by raft during the early Eocene (about 41 Ma). During the Pleistocene – Holocene period (2.5 Ma to recent) capybaras (Neochoerus and Hydrochoerus) ranged from southern North America to central Argentina. About 3.5 million years ago, capybara dispersed to North America across the Panamanian land bridge. Neochoerus Pinckneyi is an extinct Capybara species that lived in the southern half of North America. Fossil remains have been found in Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona and Central America. It is thought to have weighed about 200 lbs, making it approximately twice as large as Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (modern capybara). Fossil remains in North America suggest it lived about 500,000 years ago and became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

Gigantism in Caviomorphs is more common than in other rodents and had reached its peak by the end of the Miocene, 6 Ma. Capybaras in particular were already large when they were first recognised, but continued to increase in size, peaking during the Plio-Pleistocene (5.3 Ma to 10 Ky). Examples of this are Chapalmatherium (200 kg) and Neochoerus (110 kg). It appears from the fossil record that the basic biological characteristics of capybaras were attained before the late Miocene.

Capybaras That Are Used to Humans Love to Be Petted.  カピバラ撫でするのが大好き。それらは人間に使用されている場合

Capybaras That Are Used to Humans Love to Be Petted. カピバラ撫でするのが大好き。それらは人間に使用されている場合

Conservation status: Although Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris as a whole is not threatened with extinction in some places populations have disappeared. Capybaras in north-eastern Brazil and the Chaco Seco region of Argentina are under threat due to hunting by man. In the Llanos of Venezuela and Colombia populations are also at risk and local extinctions are possible.

The importance of capybaras: The authors of “Capybara, biology, use and conservation of an Exceptional Neotropical Species” state: “It is arguably the most important native mammalian herbivore in the ecology of the wetlands and savannas of the subcontinent”.

Common name:       Capybara
Scientific name:       Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Kingdom:                  Animalia
Phylum:                    Chordata
Class:                         Mammalia
Order:                        Rodentia
Family:                      Caviidae
Genus:                       Hydrochoerus

I would like to recommend the book: “Capybara, Biology, Use and Conservation of an Exceptional Neotropical Species” edited by Moreira, Ferraz, Herrera and MacDonald. Published by Springer, as the best source of accurate information about the capybara.

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A Day in the Life Of a Pet Capybara ペットカピバラの寿命デイ

Romeo Napping in the Sun

Romeo Napping in the Sun

As recounted by Marvin Reeder (with a few interjections by me) who lives with Romeo and Tuff’n, and his wife Elizabeth and Yellow Cat.   マーヴィンリーダー(と私)で。マーヴィンはロミオ、Tuff’nとその妻エリザベス猫と暮らし

Tuff'n waiting on the bed

Tuff’n waiting on the bed. ベッドの上で待機しTuff’n

The morning starts somewhere between 5 or 6 AM. The capybaras will awake with a trip to the potty pan and chuckle their way into the kitchen for their morning milk. Then it’s back to the bedroom until 7 or 8 AM, stopping off for a bite of hay or guinea pig food and perhaps another visit to the potty room.

Tuffin naps

Tuff’n naps

The capybaras rouse themselves with a great deal of yawning, stretching and chuckling to make sure you wake up and to show that they are ready for their maize (a type of corn that is not sweet, which they get in winter to supplement their diet).   When the Capys want their morning corn they eep plaintively, pointing their noses at the refrigerator, where they know their corn is kept.   The eating of the corn takes about half an hour, after which they enjoy a bowl of warm water and then it’s time for the mid-morning nap in the sun which lasts until noon or 2 PM, and is only interrupted by the occasional trip to the potty pan and the occasional sparring match.

This video shows Romeo and Tuff’n getting out of their spa as their dinner arrives in the back garden. Romeo and Tuff’n adore their maize, and demand to be fed earlier and earlier. First it was 10 o’clock in the morning, then it was moved back to 8 o’clock in the morning, then 6 o’clock in the morning, then midnight and now they expect to be fed at 9 PM on the dot; capybaras like most animals have an excellent sense of time. Tuff’n has even learned to say “corn”! However in the presence of the camera and the spotlights he was tongue tied. The oil in the maize has brought a sheen to their coats.

Romeo sunbathing on the deck.  ロミオ日光浴

Romeo sunbathing on the deck. ロミオ日光浴

Romeo and Tuff’n are now ready to go to one of their many favourite parks and they do not like to be kept waiting.  If they are not loaded up to go to the park they get quite frustrated and begin to protest and cause mischief. They will bring their leashes over to you, as a gentle hint, but if the delay continues they begin to play fight or defecate in inappropriate places.     Romeo and Tuff’n go to the park to eat grass every day, rain or shine, for 2 to 3 hours.

Romeo and Tuff'n wait patiently to go to the park to graze and be petted by all the park visitors who love to meet them.   公園に行くことを辛抱強く待ちます。草を食べること

Romeo and Tuff’n wait patiently to go to the park to graze and be petted by all the park visitors who love to meet them. 公園に行くことを辛抱強く待ちます。草を食べること

Muddy Romeo at the Park. Romeo loves to roll in the mud. He also loves standing on his hind legs and rubbing his morillo on his leash.

Muddy Romeo at the Park. Romeo loves to roll in the mud. He also loves standing on his hind legs and rubbing his morillo on his leash.

Sometimes Romeo and Tuff’n go to Lake Mead where they love to swim in the huge lake and eat aquatic plants.

Tuff'n at Lake Mead

Tuff’n at Lake Mead

When they arrive home their first stop is a trip to the potty pan for a giant pooh, unless of course an accident has happened in the car, for which Marvin and Elizabeth are well prepared with a tarpaulin and several incontinence mats.

This is followed by a bath in warm water after which Romeo does a little dance of joy as Marvin sprays him. Tuff’n is still apprehensive of the jet of warm water.

Video: After an afternoon grazing in the park and rolling in the damp, soft earth Romeo and Tuff’n love to play in the spray.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N81nT9Z_UWc&list=UU6vvD9LkAvhQzItm1kCtCfg

Romeo and Tuff’n go into the kitchen for their evening milk and sit quietly on a towel waiting for the milk to arrive, facing in opposite directions in case a predator appears. Romeo goes into an almost trancelike state, he is so incredibly calm and patient while he waits for the milk to be prepared.

Romeo and Tuff'n wait patiently for their milk In the kitchen. They face in opposite directions so they can look out for predators.  キッチンで。ミルクロメオTuff'nを辛抱強く待ちます。反対方向に直面しています。捕食者を探す

Romeo and Tuff’n wait patiently for their milk In the kitchen. They face in opposite directions so they can look out for predators. キッチンで。ミルクロメオTuff’nを辛抱強く待ちます。反対方向に直面しています。捕食者を探す

And then it’s time for a swim.

Romeo, Tuff'n and Marvin in the pool. The pool has been specially treated so the water is not harmful to the capybaras.

Romeo, Tuff’n and Marvin in the pool. The pool has been specially treated so the water is not harmful to the capybaras.

Then back to the hay bales and another trip to the potty pan. Occasionally they will take in some television, but most often they will just retire to the bedroom and wait for someone to join them.

The living room! Which has been taken over by Romeo and Tuff’n. The carpet has been ripped up and replaced by hay. There are two large bales of hay for Romeo and Tuff’n to eat. Yellow Cat likes to relax close to the herd. リビングルーム!カピバラルール。カーペットがなくなっています。ヘイ今。食べる干し草の俵2。猫が近くにカピバラになりたがっている。 Photo by Marvin and Elizabeth

Sometimes Romeo waits at the entrance to the bedroom for Elizabeth to arrive. Elizabeth has a mystical ritual which Romeo and Tuff’n love. The lights are turned down and an ambience of peace and serenity ensues. First Romeo is covered with his favourite blanket so that only the tip of his nose is showing. Then Tuff’n, who until recently did not like having his head covered, is covered with his favourite blanket. Elizabeth then communes silently with each of them nose to nose and sometimes joins them on the bed. This is a quite magical scene.

Elizabeth Communes with Romeo

Elizabeth Communes with Romeo

When Marvin comes to bed Romeo puts his head on Marvin’s shoulder and snuggles up beside him, as close as he can get. Tuff’n starts the night at the end of the bed but very often Elizabeth awakes to find Tuff’n snuggling in her arms.

Marvin, Romeo, Tuff’n and Yellow Cat. Photo by Elizabeth

The capybaras tend to sleep most of the night except for several trips to the potty pan. After each trip Marvin or Elizabeth will get up and empty and clean the potty pan.

“Around 3:00 am, I heard a noise outside followed by a low “bark” in the living room, I turned on the light, and found Romeo guarding the boys ( our nephews). He is very protective and loves them.” ロミオは甥を守る。一晩滞在。マービンの家に. Photo by Marvin and Elizabeth

“Around 3:00 am, I heard a noise outside followed by a low “bark” in the living room, I turned on the light, and found Romeo guarding the boys ( our nephews). He is very protective and loves them.” ロミオは甥を守る。一晩滞在。マービンの家に. Photo by Marvin and Elizabeth

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Capybaras enjoy a routine. They can tell what time of day it is, and sometimes if their humans have not stayed on schedule they will protest by missing the potty pan or using their teeth to tug on your trouser legs, or by gnawing on their leashes, to remind you that they are not pleased with the service they are experiencing that day.

You will find yourself apologising to the capybaras for making them wait for their dinner because you are cleaning their potty pans:  “Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t realise you were waiting for your milk”, when Marvin, the slaveboy, had been elsewhere cleaning the potty pans and hadn’t noticed that his VIP Romeo was waiting for his milk.

Romeo likes to drink water from the bottle. He is bonded with Elizabeth and Marvin so he may well think he is a human, or at least part human. He loves standing on his hind legs which brings him up to a more human level.  ロミオ人間で接着。多分彼は彼が人間であると考えている。

Romeo likes to drink water from the bottle. He is bonded with Elizabeth and Marvin so he may well think he is a human, or at least part human. He loves standing on his hind legs which brings him up to a more human level. ロミオ人間で接着。多分彼は彼が人間であると考えている。

Capybaras are very high maintenance and demanding!

Capybaras find humans easy to train, as they soon find out!    You may think you are training them, but in reality they are training you. Capybaras are highly intelligent and emotionally very sophisticated. They have excellent memories and never forget, often scheming for several days before coming out with some clever strategy to ensure a situation is turned to their advantage.

They have well thought out strategies to ensure their desires are met. For example, on one occasion while Marvin and Elizabeth were asleep in bed at morning milk time, Tuff’n sat by the potty room door and called plaintively for Romeo. Marvin got up to help direct Tuff’n to Romeo’s location which Marvin assumed would be on the hay bale in the dining room. However, instead of Marvin leading Tuff’n to Romeo on the hay bale, Tuff’n lead Marvin to Romeo sitting on his milk mat in the kitchen waiting for his morning milk! On the way Tuff’n kept looking back at Marvin to make sure he was following.  Tuff’n then sat down right beside Romeo.

Romeo and Tuff’n have a different call for each member of the herd, human or capybara.

Capybaras pooh approximately every 2 hours. You will be emptying the potty pan at least 10 times a day. This can often be a messy, backbreaking procedure. It put my husband right off living with a capybara!

Videos:

Video: After an afternoon grazing in the park and rolling in the damp, soft earth Romeo and Tuff’n love to play in the spray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N81nT9Z_UWc&list=UU6vvD9LkAvhQzItm1kCtCfg

Video: Marvin wakes Romeo who has been fast asleep, nestling under the bed covers at the bottom of the bed. Romeo knows exactly what Marvin wants him to do but he is enjoying exerting his own authority and not complying with Marvin’s wishes. At about 1.39 minutes you can see the hair rise on Romeo’s neck and back as he really revels in his own power to do what he wants rather than give in to Marvin’s authority.

マーヴィンは、ロミオを覚ます。ロメオは、眠っていた。ロミオはベッドの下に覆われた。ロメオは、不従順を楽しんでいます。ロメオの髪は1.39分で上昇。幸せロメオ。彼はマーヴィンを支配する力を持っています。ロメオはマーヴィンが何を望んでない。

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKZ-Ut9Feg0

Video:  Romeo and Marvin play a game called “Little Field Mouse” in which Marvin feeds Romeo the choicest pieces of hay, the sweet dried grass flowers. Sometimes they share a flower. Romeo loves the game and it makes them feel very proud and important. To me this is so much more rewarding, playing games in a language, using words and phrases which Romeo understands, than teaching senseless tricks. I am pleased to see that a growing number of animal connoisseurs and aficionados are against teaching animals tricks. Tuff’n provides the vocal accompaniment; you can hear him singing.

Video:  Romeo and Tuff’n enjoy having a bath:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3J7Tp8bExE

Video:    Poor little Tuff’n falls in the icy cold wintery swimming pool and calls out plaintively: 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_OqRNGv4r0

This video shows Romeo and Tuff’n getting out of their spa as their dinner arrives in the back garden. Romeo and Tuff’n adore their maize, and demand to be fed earlier and earlier. First it was 10 o’clock in the morning, then it was moved back to 8 o’clock in the morning, then 6 o’clock in the morning, then midnight and now they expect to be fed at 9 PM on the dot; capybaras like most animals have an excellent sense of time. Tuff’n has even learned to say “corn”! However in the presence of the camera and the spotlights he was tongue tied. The oil in the maize has brought a sheen to their coats.

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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

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Yasushi, The Most Magnificent Capybara. We Humans Failed You. 康、最も壮大なカピバラ。私たち人間は. 人間はあなたを失敗しました。私たちはあなたを殺した。

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in your eyes, when so many people failed you. 

Yasushi looks so appealing. He wants us to be his friends but we failed him. What does that say about us as humans

Yasushi looks so appealing. He wants us to be his friends but we failed him. What does that say about us as humans

Yasushi, the most fabulous capybara in the world has just died (December 19, 2013) and I am absolutely devastated. He should never, ever have been put alone in a cage as if he was an art object and not a living creature with feelings and emotions.  It was absolutely unforgivable.

Yasushi died of depression.  Such a tragic end for such a sweet, gentle, trusting capybara.

He was the most wonderful and outstanding capybara. He always worried about the rest of the herd when they escaped from the enclosure. He would walk along the boundary fence trying to keep as close to them as possible with a very concerned look on his face, trying to give them as much support as he could.

Capybaras are intensely social animals, and Yasushi was one of the most friendly and gregarious capybaras at Nagasaki Bio Park. For three years he was surrounded by adoring females who loved to be with him, to rub their heads on his face or on his back, to nuzzle  him under the chin, which he absolutely adored, to nibble him tenderly, and to make love to him. Thousands of visitors came to see him; they loved petting him, watching his amazingly long hair rise till he looked like a giant puffball. He was so responsive to their pampering, such a rewarding capybara to spend time with. I don’t understand how anyone could put Yasushi into an enclosure all alone and not realise how much he would suffer.

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in his eyes, when so many people failed him.  Doesn't he have the sweetest eyes. Kyoto zoo built a special enclosure for him, so I'm sure they had the best intentions for him. It seems hard to believe that they wouldn't have also understood his emotional needs.

It breaks my heart to see that honest, sweet, trusting look in his eyes, when so many people failed him. Doesn’t he have the sweetest eyes.
Kyoto zoo built a special enclosure for him, so I’m sure they valued him at some level, perhaps they even thought they had the best intentions for him. It seems hard to believe that they wouldn’t have also understood his emotional needs. I think perhaps there is a need for those in authority in Japan to be more receptive to new information.
This is a photo of Yasushi taken at Kyoto zoo before he died on December 19.

As I lay awake last night I found myself wondering what Yasushi thought when he found himself all alone in solitary confinement. He must have felt extreme anguish looking out at the visitors peering at him, wondering why they didn’t want to come over and pet him. “Why are the people keeping their distance, don’t they care about me any more, why don’t they want to be near me?”

Our Video: 

In Honour of Yasushi We Will Never Forget You  康の名誉中 私たちはあなたを決して忘れないだろう

昨 晩、私は動物(そして、人間のコミュニケーション)について、本を読みました。 動物のコミュニケーションについて書かれる全部の本のために、あなたは、コミュニケーションが動物と人間にとってひどく重要であると理解するでしょう。 しかし、一人で生きている動物は、通信する相手を誰も持っていません。 動物から彼の人生のそのような重要な側面を奪うことは、きっと彼らを滅ぼします。 私が理解することが完全にできないものは、一人でヤスシを構内に入れるという決定をした人々がそれが感情的に彼の上に持つ破壊的な影響をなぜ理解しなかっ たかということです。 それは残酷でした。 私は、彼らが残酷であると思わないと確信します。 人生における私の任務は、このような人々が動物の感情を理解しなければならなくて、彼らの世話において動物のたちへの愛と尊敬で行動しなければならないと いうことです。

Last night I read a book about animal (and human communication). For a whole book to be written about animal communication you will understand that communication is desperately important to both animals and humans. But an animal living all alone would have no one to communicate with. To deprive an animal of such an important facet of his life would surely destroy him. What I completely fail to understand is why the people who took the decision to put Yasushi into an enclosure all alone did not understand the devastating effect it would have on him emotionally. It was cruel. And yet I am sure they do not think they are being cruel. My mission in life is that people like this should understand animal emotions and act with love and respect towards the animals in their care.

 

これは、私が昨年ヤスシについて私のブログに書いたものです – 彼は驚くほどの派手な長い髪と穏やかな性格に育ち、寛容な個性をもっている男性として素晴らしいカピバラです。 私は、彼が新しい血によるボス・カピバラとしてとって代わられるとき、何が彼に起こるかについてわかりませんでした? 私は彼が女性のカピバラと交際することに関して少なくとも1人の女性と大きな構内(エンクロージャー)を持つことを望みました。そうすると、彼は年老いてから、幸福に老後を生き抜くことができます。
私は、長崎バイオパークと京都市動物園がこれを読んだこと(読んでくれること)を願います。

This is what I wrote in my blog about Yasushi last year:  Yasushi is a magnificent capybara to have as the breeding male, with his amazingly flamboyant long hair, and gentle, tolerant personality. I wonder what will happen to him when he is replaced as boss capybara by new blood? I hope he will have a large enclosure with at least one female for company, so that he can live out his years joyfully into old age.

I wish the Bio Park and Kyoto Zoo had read this.

Yasushi loved being nuzzled and caressed by the female capybaras. The female capybaras loved nibbling Yasushi and rubbing their heads against his nose, lips and across his back. They all wanted to mate with him, especially Aki, Donguri and Momiji. Aki was powerful and jealous and it always surprised me that any of the other capybaras ever produced babies, she guarded access to him so fiercely.

Yasushi loved being nuzzled and caressed by the female capybaras. The female capybaras loved nibbling Yasushi and rubbing their heads against his nose, lips and across his back.
They all wanted to mate with him, especially Aki, Donguri and Momiji. Aki was powerful and jealous and it always surprised me that any of the other capybaras ever produced babies, she guarded access to him so fiercely.

私は知っています。多くの日本人が理解していないそれらのこと、そしてアメリカでは少なくともある程度の数の人たちが意見を述べる用意ができています。そ して私は、それらのもの(こと)が変わる、カピバラが単独で決して収容(動物園などに)されないようにと固く決意しています。(行動していくこと)

甘やかされているヤスシ。 彼が満足することと、楽しむことに富を得て、私は彼の目がその快楽にふける輝きが好きです。 彼は、素晴らしく表情豊かな顔がありました。Yasushi being pampered. I love that sybaritic glint in his eyes as he gives himself a rich to enjoying the pampering. He had a wonderfully expressive face.

甘やかされているヤスシ。 彼が満足することと、楽しむことに富を得て、私は彼の目がその快楽にふける輝きが好きです。 彼は、素晴らしく表情豊かな顔がありました。Yasushi being pampered. I love that sybaritic glint in his eyes as he gives himself over to enjoying the pampering. He had a wonderfully expressive face.

I often daydreamed of Yasushi coming to live with us when his time as breeding male was over.   In August 2012 on our first visit to the Bio Park I  met Yasushi  and fell under his spell. When I heard Yasushi had gone to Kyoto Zoo and was living all alone I used to fantasise that I persuaded the zoo management to let me spend the day with Yasushi in his enclosure pampering him and providing him with some companionship. This would have made a much more interesting “exhibit” for the visitors as Yasushi rolled and frolicked with pleasure as I petted him. Much more entertaining than watching a sad and lonely capybara desolately picking at his food and going in and out of his small pond in a disenchanted way.

Yasushi often looked vulnerable, as if something frightening had happened to him in the past. I rarely saw him with the relaxed and happy look that most capybaras express when they are resting stop However Yasushi adored to be pampered and petted, and he was at his happiest rolling on his side, with his head thrown back, his lips slightly parted and his teeth showing in an expression of sheer bliss. His response and his ecstasy were so manifest that nothing gave me greater pleasure than to make him happy.

Yasushi often looked vulnerable, as if something frightening had happened to him in the past. I rarely saw him with the relaxed and happy expression that most capybaras have when they are resting. However Yasushi adored to be pampered and petted, and he was at his happiest rolling on his side, with his head thrown back, his lips slightly parted and his teeth showing in an expression of sheer bliss. His response and his ecstasy were so obvious that nothing gave me greater pleasure than to make him happy.

私は、日本の人々に動物には感性と感情があって、知的であると思って欲しいです。 我々とカピバラのような哺乳類には非常に類似した脳構造があります、そして、彼らは同じ神経化学物質を持っています。

Sniffing Aki's Bottom, Something He Loved to Do!

Sniffing Aki’s Bottom, and rubbing his morillo on it.  Something He Loved to Do!

.私は京都市動物園が許せません。私は1か月前に彼らにヤスシについて助言をしました。彼らは最善をつくすと言いましたが、カピバラを一頭で飼育していること自体間違いです。最近の日本は何でも資本主義でお金儲けばかり考え、大事なことを忘れています。日本という国、そしてあまりにバカな日本人が多く許せません。どんなことでも資格があればプロとみなされ、技術があっても資格がなければ仕事することが許されない社会など間違っています。そこには単なる国の金儲けが存在します。あまりにいいかげん、あまりにプロ意識のなさ、お金中心に考える人たち、すべて許せません。

My friend, Koji Anderson, contacted Kyoto Zoo and explained to them that Yasushi would need a companion otherwise he would die of loneliness. Unfortunately the zoo ignored his advice. I wish they had understood that Yasushi would become very depressed and have nothing to live for if he was kept all alone in solitary confinement, like a prisoner.

Yasushi was such a Thoughtful and Concerned Capybara. He seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, responsible for the happiness of his herd. I felt that he felt he could never really relax except when he was being pampered. He always had to be sufficiently alert in case some danger or accident befell one of the other capybaras and he would need to take charge. If any of the capybaras escaped from the enclosure he became extremely worried. An anxious look spread over his face and he would walk along the boundary fence staying as close to the escapees as possible, ready to give them his support if they became frightened. He was a true gentleman.

Yasushi was such a Thoughtful and Concerned Capybara. He seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, responsible for the happiness of his herd. I felt that he felt he could never really relax except when he was being pampered, or frolicking in the pond with the females and making love.  He always had to be sufficiently alert in case some danger or accident befell one of the other capybaras and he would need to take charge.
If any of the capybaras escaped from the enclosure he became extremely worried. An anxious look spread over his face and he would walk along the boundary fence staying as close to the escapees as possible, ready to give them his support if they became frightened.
He was a true gentleman.

He was such a special capybara, he deserved to live out his life with love and dignity.

Little baby Io nuzzling his daddy Yasushi. Yasushi always had time for Io and loved to play with his little son in the pond. He would even break away from his lovemaking, how many humans fathers would do that. Io used to nibble Yasushi's ear which Yasushi loved. He would go into paroxysms of bliss, his hair raised and sink beneath the water, looking completely out of it so much pleasure did Io's nibbling give him. Io seem to know that Yasushi loved to have his ears nibbled.

Little baby Io nuzzling his daddy Yasushi. Yasushi always had time for Io and loved to play with his little son in the pond. He would even break away from his lovemaking, how many humans fathers would do that. Io used to nibble Yasushi’s ear which Yasushi loved. He would go into paroxysms of bliss, his hair raised, and sink beneath the water, looking completely out of it so much pleasure did Io’s nibbling give him. Io seemed to know that Yasushi loved to have his ears nibbled.

I used to sing to Yasushi when I pampered and petted him. I hoped that he would remember my voice and recognise me. I hope he liked my singing!

Yasushi was always ready to share his watermelon with his little son Io.  Donguri is Io's mother. When Yasushi took his afternoon nap Io would come over and join him, often clambering over his nose and waking him up. Yasushi never protested, he was a very tolerant capybara. There seemed to be a special bond father and son, and Io often sought out Yasushi's company; he was always welcomed.

Yasushi was always ready to share his watermelon with his little son Io. Donguri is Io’s mother. When Yasushi took his afternoon nap Io would come over and join him, often clambering over his nose and waking him up. Yasushi never protested, he was a very tolerant capybara. There seemed to be a special bond between father and son, and Io often sought out Yasushi’s company; he was always welcomed.

He produced the most wonderful babies for the Biopark;  they have inherited his outstanding characteristics, and respond to being petted more than the other capybaras and have his amazingly long hair. In particular Kin, Gin, Syu and Autumn.

He was such a gentleman with such good manners sharing his watermelon in a way that Toku, the new Boss Capybara, never would.

靖は幸せです。人々は彼を甘やかす。Yasushi in heaven. He so enjoyed being pampered.

靖は幸せです。人々は彼を甘やかす。Yasushi in heaven. He so enjoyed being pampered.

Yasushi Relaxing after his Mud Bath

Yasushi Relaxing after his Mud Bath

Yasushi was always surrounded by adoring female capybaras in the pond, caressing him, nibbling him, wanting to make love to him. He must have been devastated to find himself all alone in a small enclosure in Kyoto Zoo. This video is public.

Yasushi smiling.  He so loved to be pampered and the visitors to the Bio Park so loved pampering him because he was so responsive.  康は微笑む。訪問者は、靖ペットが好きだった。彼はとても反応が良かった。これは訪問者に莫大な報酬だった。

Yasushi smiling. He so loved to be pampered and the visitors to the Bio Park so loved pampering him because he was so responsive.    I’m certain he never smiled in Kyoto Zoo. 康は微笑む。訪問者は、靖ペットが好きだった。彼はとても反応が良かった。これは訪問者に莫大な報酬だった。

Romantic Capybaras. Nagasaki Bio Park ロマンチックなカピバ     

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86MXl0-BUIM

I want people in Japan to understand that animals have feelings and emotions and are intelligent. Mammals  (capybaras are mammals, humans are also mammals) all share very similar brain structures, that means Capybara brains are similar in many ways to human brains,  and their brains have the same neurochemicals.私は、日本の人々に動物には感性と感情があって、知的であると思って欲しいです。 我々とカピバラのような哺乳類には非常に類似した脳構造があります、そして、彼らは同じ神経化学物質を持っています。

Animals should be treated with love and respect;  they are our friends not our servants.   They are not entertainment; they are not here to entertain us.  (Manifesto for International Animal Protection Group):

Animals suffer when their needs and expectations and desires are not met. All mammals (humans and animals) have the same structures in a part of the brain called the limbic system, which is primarily responsible for our emotional life and the formation of memories. Mammals also share the same neurochemicals that are important in processing emotions. Animals may well experience some things more intensely than humans.

We should treat them with respect and love. They deserve no less. No human should cause suffering to an animal in the pursuit of their own interests.

Animals are not objects. Animals are not property.   We do not own them. There has been a paradigm shift among scientists who study ethology, animal behaviour. With the aid of new technology like functional MRI, scientists have come to understand that animals have emotions and feelings and are intelligent.

We know animals suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, they suffer the same symptoms that humans do.

Animals have a point of view.

Tread lightly when stepping into their lives and their homes/habitats.

Animal manifesto: “Treat us better or leave us alone”.

Most animals have done very well without us.

すべての日本の学校の中で学習のカリキュラムに取り入れるべきであるは言っています。I think this book should be required reading on the curriculum of all schools in Japan.   http://www.amazon.co.jp/動物の命は人間より軽いのか-世界最先端の動物保護思想-マーク・ベコフ/dp/4120036537

すべての日本の学校の中で学習のカリキュラムに取り入れるべきであるは言っています。I think this book should be required reading on the curriculum of all schools in Japan.
http://www.amazon.co.jp/動物の命は人間より軽いのか-世界最先端の動物保護思想-マーク・ベコフ/dp/4120036537

This is what I wrote last year, it is never to be: Magnificent Yasushi. I hope he is voted ‘Most Popular Capybara in Japan’ one day; he so deserves it with his charismatic personality, gentle nature, exceptionally expressive face and amazingly long hair.

There must be a better future for retired Boss Capybaras than solitary confinement.

Everything about him was exceptional;  I wish he had had many more children.

The Biopark have said that Yasushi will be commemorated in the grave at the Biopark and have a memorial service (at least I think that’s what they said):   Message from Bio Park  他園での死因や飼育方針などについては当園はコメントする立場にありませんが、当園では死亡した飼育動物のために慰霊碑を建立し、定期的に慰霊祭を開催して供養を行っております。本のお薦めにつきましては、ご意見として承りました。コメントありがとうございました

I replied: “Thank you very much. Yasushi was such a magnificent capybara, I just wanted him to be honoured.  He produced such wonderful babies, Kin, Gin, Syu and Autumn – so gentle, who loved to be petted as much as Yasushi did, and they inherited his beautiful long hair. Perfect capybaras for the Bio Park.  I hope Syu will carry his genes to future generations.

Thank You Very Much Koji Anderson for the Japanese Translations

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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

 

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Kiss the Critter, “Cheap Laughs, and Bullying”. Nobody Who Cared about an Animal Could Ever Submit It To a “Kiss the Critter” Event.

Sweet, Gentle, Trusting Capybara

Sweet, Gentle, Trusting Capybara

In the summer of 2012 an animal that I care very deeply about was subjected to a “Kiss the Critter” event. At the time I was heartbroken and horrified. I expressed my concerns very forcibly. I couldn’t watch the video, I was in tears. The animal looked so confused and distressed. How could anyone do this to a sweet, gentle, loving animal.

At one point one of the men smeared his face with lipstick and kissed the animal, covering the animal’s face with lipstick. It was grotesque, and crude and horrible. Nobody who cared about their animal could possibly subject them to this heartless and demeaning experience.

Last night I came across this article in Psychology Today by Marc Bekoff. In it he condemns everything that I was horrified by.

What depresses me is that we live in an age where people pretend to be animal lovers, but in reality they view animals as entertainment, and very often the animals suffer as a result.

Animals experience very similar emotions to humans. In the part of the brain which processes emotions, the limbic system, all mammals (humans and animals) have the same structures. Mammals also share the same neurochemicals that are important in processing emotions.  We should treat them with respect and love. No human should cause suffering to an animal in the pursuit of their own interests.

Animals experience very similar emotions to humans. In the part of the brain which processes emotions, the limbic system, all mammals (humans and animals) have the same structures. Mammals also share the same neurochemicals that are important in processing emotions. We should treat them with respect and love. No human should cause suffering to an animal in the pursuit of their own interests.

Kiss the Critter and Kiss a Pig Contests, “Cheap Laughs, and Bullying”

As Marc Bekoff  says, and he says it applies to other animals as much as pigs “These inane contests demean everyone involved and should be stopped right now… Stunts based on contempt and ridicule…. These sensitive {animals}… Surrounded by shrieking…. promoting animal exploitation for cheap laughs. The animals have no understanding of what is happening to them. {Animals} are sentient beings who are capable of experiencing fear and pain. Just as none of us would appreciate being held up in front of a jeering crowd, neither do animals. Bullying is bullying, no matter who the victim is.”

Animals suffer when their needs and expectations and desires are not met. All mammals (humans and animals) have the same structures in a part of the brain called the limbic system, which appears to be primarily responsible for our emotional life and the formation of memories. Mammals also share the same neurochemicals that are important in processing emotions, so these arguments from analogy, as scientists call them, are extremely strong and valid ones. I.e. any differences between humans and animals are differences of degree rather than kind. And animals may well experience some things more strongly than humans.

Animals are not objects. We do not own them. There has been a paradigm shift among scientists who study ethology, animal behaviour. Scientists have come to understand that animals have emotions and feelings and are intelligent. We should treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

This is an article that Marc Bekoff wrote for Psychology Today:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201311/kiss-pig-contests-cheap-laughs-and-bullying

“Kiss a Pig Contests, Cheap Laughs, and Bullying

These inane contests demean everyone involved and should be stopped right now

Published on November 8, 2013 by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. in Animal Emotions

Given that schools rightfully aspire to zero tolerance of bullying, they should be at the forefront of encouraging students to be respectful to each other, to their teachers and to all those around them, human and nonhuman alike. So, why are schools (and other organizations) holding events such as “kiss a pig” contests to reward students for reading or to motivate them in their fundraising? These spectacles send the reckless message that stunts based on contempt and ridicule are not only condoned but also encouraged.

Whether or not a student or teacher is well liked, it’s clear that the person who gets the most votes and has to kiss a pig is considered a “loser.” In “kiss a pig” contests, these sensitive animals are surrounded by shrieking kids and the pigs have no understanding of what is happening to them. The piglets often scream in fright, urinate and struggle to escape.

Schools should recognize that these kinds of incentives encourage students to be openly disdainful of their teachers and also foster derision and disrespect toward both educators and pigs. Instead of mocking pigs, students could learn a lot of positive lessons about kindness and compassion from them.

Pigs are loyal friends and amiable companions. Smart and inquisitive, they enjoy exploring and uncovering new and interesting things. They dream and also enjoy listening to music and getting back rubs. Calling someone “a pig” should actually be a compliment.

Pigs are sentient beings who are capable of experiencing fear and pain. Just as none of us would appreciate being held up in front of a jeering crowd, neither do pigs. Bullying is bullying, no matter who the victim is. The teacher who would stop a child from being picked on should extend the same compassion toward animals. Educators must recognize the danger of instigating group antipathy (the so-called “mob mentality”) and how doing so prompts otherwise kind people to behave badly.

If students were taught how personable pigs really are, I feel certain these contests would be stopped once and for all. Young people can learn to appreciate pigs for the truly remarkable beings they are. Pigs offer valuable lessons in forgiveness, resilience and confidence, and I know this firsthand from a pig I met a few years ago named Geraldine.

Geraldine was a rescued potbellied pig living at a lovely sanctuary called Kindness Ranch. Although she had known nothing but cruelty before being rescued, she was personable and clearly interested in assessing me for acceptance as a new friend. Once I passed muster and she trusted me, she demanded nothing but companionship and belly rubs. Geraldine had every reason to be hostile and fearful, but she put her bad past behind her and moved forward with optimism and cheer. The idea of subjecting Geraldine or any of her kin to derision or discomfort is utterly unthinkable.

Links between animal abuse and human abuse are well-known

In light of the devastating consequences of bullying, schools are doing the right thing to take steps to curb anti-social behavior. And those steps must include extending kindness to everyone, including other animals, as there are well-established links between abusing nonhuman animals and bullying humans (see also and “Animal Cruelty and Antisocial Behavior: A Very Strong Link“).

With so many innovative and humane ways to motivate kids, schools are failing themselves and their students by promoting animal exploitation for cheap laughs. These sorts of events should be stopped immediately and the reasons for doing so should be made very clear. Both humans and other animals will benefit from these discussions.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Marc Bekoff is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc is also an ambassador for Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens, and prisoners, and also is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Jane Goodall Institute. He and Jane co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000. Marc is on the Board of Directors of The Fauna Sanctuary and The Cougar Fund and on the advisory board for Animal Defenders, the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group, and Project Coyote. He has been part of the international program, Science and the Spiritual Quest II and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) program on Science, Ethics, and Religion. Marc is also an honorary member of Animalisti Italiani and Fundacion Altarriba. In 2006 Marc was named an honorary board member of Rational Animal and a patron of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society. In 2009 he was named a member of the Scientific Expert Advisory Panel of Voiceless, The Animal Protection Institute and a faculty member of the Humane Society University, and in 2010 he was named to the advisory board of Living with Wolves and Greenvegans and the advisory council of the National Museum of Animals & Society. In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. In 2009 he was presented with the St. Francis of Assisi Award by the Auckland (New Zealand) SPCA. Marc is also on the Board of Directors for Minding Animals International.

This is a link to Marc Bekoff’s homepage:

http://www.literati.net/authors/marc-bekoff/

 

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