Capybara Diet. Includes Treatments For Dietary Health Issues. 水豚飲食. カピバラダイエット

The correct diet is very important for the health, welfare and longevity of a capybara.

Includes details of Critical Care Formula for capybaras, Probiotic treatments for capybaras and details of Milk Formula specifically formulated for baby capybaras

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

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

A leading breeder of wild animals, Kapi’yva Exotics, posts this information on their website: “I DO NOT recommend feeding fruits, vegetables or other items containing large amounts of sugar on a daily basis. There is some evidence that diets containing large amounts of sugar, even from healthy sources, can cause liver and heart problems.” Kapi’yva Exotics no longer sells capybaras as pets because too many pet capybaras suffer, they only sell to zoos.

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

This is the perfect enclosure for a capybara: lots of grass and a large pond. Photo by Martin MurmelTier Hees

The healthiest pet capybaras that I have met are fed a diet of fresh untreated grass, hay (Orchard Hay and Timothy Hay), palm fronds to chew on and guinea pig feed.

Put simply:  DO NOT FEED YOUR CAPYBARA ANYTHING WITH ADDED SUGAR AND ABSOLUTELY NO CANDY or  JUNK FOOD; or  SWEET FRUIT or Bird seed. In the Tropics; capybaras spend 31% of their time grazing during the wet season; and 42% in the dry season.

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

Please also see this blog for information about plants, chemicals and other potentially lethal dangers that capybaras may encounter:


https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/capybaras-beware-of-toxic-plants-chemicals-and-poisonous-animals-like-scorpions-and-snakes-humans-remove-these-from-your-land-garden-and-yard-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%81%ab/

Keep some hay or a bale of hay in the living room so your capybara always has something to eat and chew on. Capybaras have evolved to spend at least 31% of their day chewing (on high fibre, coarse food like grasses) in order to keep their teeth healthy. Hay adds a beautiful aroma to the smell of a living room.

Romeo never chews on furnishings or plastic because he always has hay to eat in the house

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

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

The Hay and Guinea pig feed should be available 24/7.

Capybaras I know have some Orchard/Timothy hay mix in the living room. Whenever the capybaras want to chew on something, or they feel hungry, they go to the hay (or guinea pig feed). This means they do not chew pillowcases, plastic, comforters or any other inappropriate items of furniture. Swallowing plastic is potentially very dangerous.

The best treatment for diarrhoea is a probiotic. In America this probiotic is called Benebac. In Japan, zoos use a probiotic called Bio 3. This probiotic could be a lifesaver.

Bene-bac

Many people with capybaras and guinea pigs believe the probiotic ‘Bene-bac’ is a lifesaver. Some friends use it whenever the capybara’s poos become softer and sausage shaped, rather than the encapsulated, olive shaped faeces which capybaras living in their natural habitat pass. Bene-Bac Small Animal Powder is a concentrated live culture of four common digestive bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. Bene-Bac is recommended any time an animal experiences stress from changing nutritional or environmental conditions. Contains 20 million CFU per gram of viable lactic acid producing bacteria. Powder formula is easy to mix with water.   It comes in 4 different types – the Bene-bac designed for guinea pigs is the correct one to use.

Constipation: Bene-bac can also be used to treat constipation. It is important to ensure your capybara drinks enough water and has access to fresh water to drink 24 hours a day. A healthy diet of unrestricted access to fresh grass should ensure a capybara does not become constipated. Chewing coarse grasses is essential for the health of capybara teeth. You should always consult your vet as soon as you become concerned.

Bene-bac Product Information

Bene-Bac® Plus Small Animal Powder is recommended any time an animal experiences changing nutritional or environmental conditions.

  • Contains seven fat-encapsulated, common microorganisms found in intestinal tract of small mammals
  • Provides help for changing conditions, including, but not limited to birth, breeding, post-surgery, antibiotic therapy, weaning, worming, showing, boarding and travel
  • Guaranteed 20 million colony-forming units (CFU) of viable bacteria per gram
  • Recommended as part of the management program for all animals subjected to adverse conditions
  • May be used for regular maintenance

https://www.petag.com/products/bene-bac-plus-small-animal-powder

Critical Care Formula for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Formula Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

If you have a capybara who is not eating properly, or becoming very thin, this nutritional formula made by Oxbow, Critical Care for Herbivores, is recommended by a vet who specialises in treating capybaras. Your capybara may have tooth problems (which will need to be attended to) which makes chewing painful, or he might have an illness, or be recovering from surgery. This product has everything a capybara needs for optimum nutrition and health and recovery.

Remember that if your capybara has not been eating very much, his stomach will have shrunk. This means he will only be able to eat small quantities of food at any one time. You will need to keep offering him this formula, in small quantities, throughout the day to ensure he gets adequate nutrition.

Critical Care for Herbivores is a high protein, high energy, high fibre, easily digested powdered formula, with all the essential vitamins and minerals.. It is designed to be palatable so that your capybara enjoys it and wants to eat. It contains high-fibre Timothy hay to support proper gut physiology and digestion. It comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid.

A Critical Care Formula in the form of a crunchy “biscuit”, is also available, and chewing it will be good for your capybara’s teeth.

For more information please see the link below:

            Excessive mucus in faeces may be a sign of a bacterial infection, a blockage or tumours. The gut and intestines rely on a certain amount of mucus to function normally. Excessive amounts of mucus could indicate a blockage. This could be caused by anything from a foreign body to a bad diet with not enough roughage to keep the tract moving. Dehydration and constipation can also cause an increase in mucus. You should definitely consult your vet.

A constant intake of high fibre, low calorie grazing, grass or hay, is essential to keep the capybara’s intestinal tracts from slowing and going into stasis. Fruit might cause fermentation in the gut which can lead to bloat. In guinea pigs this is a big killer and often very hard to reverse. Fluids, fibre and lots of grass can be used to treat this.

A leading rodentologist in Britain recommends a sheep wormer, or genetically similar product, be used on guinea pigs and grazing animals for digestive health.

The U.S. Navy, the US Police Force and the best animal trainers do not use food as a reward. In the words of one US naval dog trainer “food complicates training”. Capybaras are highly intelligent. In the opinion of many capybara owners they are at least as intelligent as the most intelligent dogs. They are also highly sophisticated emotionally; i.e. they have high emotional intelligence. They respond very well to praise, and are very sensitive to the tone of voice, with a surprisingly large vocabulary. Instead of using food as a reward, use praise, such as “Good Boy together with the capybaras name”. The capybara will swell up with pride. This is far more rewarding to him than a sweet toxic food treat.

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

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

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

Capybaras are highly emotional animals and do not react well to stress, which can lead to digestive problems. In the wild capybaras have the support of the herd, and close proximity to other herd members, for their emotional well-being. I have never met a pet capybara who is bonded with humans who did not suffer. Every time the human, with whom the pet is bonded, leaves the home the capybara suffers acute separation anxiety. This is something I have witnessed many times and it is absolutely heartbreaking. The light goes out in the capybara’s eyes as the human he loves disappears out of view. The capybara will sit for a long time facing in the direction his loved one departed in. The capybara may sit by the entrance gate or front door waiting for his beloved human to return, and call and call.

A capybara bonded with a human will view this human as a herd member. This reaction to separation and the disappearance of a herd member probably reflects 30 million years of evolution wherein a lone capybara, abandoned by the herd or separated from it, would have little chance of survival.   If you are going to live with a pet capybara it would be kinder to let the capybara bond with another animal who will remain at home all day with the capybara, rather than have him/her bond with you and suffer everytime you have to go out (to work, shopping etc).  A Mara or a calm dog such as a labrador or border collie might be the ideal companion.

Milk Formula For Baby Capybaras: Wombaroo Capybara Milk Replacer

This is the only milk formula specifically formulated for baby capybaras. It has a higher protein content and fat content than other milk formulas for most other species. It comes from Australia.

https://wombaroo.com/shop/ols/products/wombaroo-capybara-milk-replacer-2kg

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: To make 1 litre of milk mix 190g of powder with 870ml of preboiled warm water. Add about half of the water first, mix to a paste then make up to 1 litre with remaining water and mix thoroughly. An electric whisk can be used for mixing.

Feed Impact Colostrum Supplement to new-borns who did not receivesufficient maternalcolostrum.

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT of capybara pups: Typical birth weight is 1.5 – 2.0 kg. Average daily weight gain is about 50-100g per day until weaning at 3 months (approx. 8kg body weight)3.

(for further information about Wombaroo Baby Capybara Milk Replacer, see the end of this blog)

Rodents are addicted to sugar and sweet foods (more so than cocaine!). This is another reason I would be very careful about introducing anything sweet into a capybara’s diet as this can lead to the capybara becoming curious about other unhealthy foods which he/she had never shown any interest in before.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The capybara diet, in the wild, consists mainly of grasses, aquatic grasses with varying a portion of sedges and just a few other plants. Capybaras gnaw on the bark of bushes and trees. Bark is nutritious and keeps their teeth healthy and in check.

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

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

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

The 3 products below could be life-saving for your capybara:

1. Critical Care Formula for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Formula Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

If you have a capybara who is not eating properly, or becoming very thin, this nutritional formula made by Oxbow, Critical Care for Herbivores, is recommended by a vet who specialises in treating capybaras. Your capybara may have tooth problems (which will need to be attended to) which makes chewing painful, or he might have an illness, or be recovering from surgery. This product has everything a capybara needs for optimum nutrition and health and recovery.

Remember that if your capybara has not been eating very much, his stomach will have shrunk. This means he will only be able to eat small quantities of food at any one time. You will need to keep offering him this formula, in small quantities, throughout the day to ensure he gets adequate nutrition.

Critical Care for Herbivores is a high protein, high energy, high fibre, easily digested powdered formula, with all the essential vitamins and minerals.. It is designed to be palatable so that your capybara enjoys it and wants to eat. It contains high-fibre Timothy hay to support proper gut physiology and digestion. It comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid.

A Critical Care Formula in the form of a crunchy “biscuit”, is also available, and chewing it will be good for your capybara’s teeth.

For more information please see the link below:

2. Bene-bac

Many people with capybaras and guinea pigs believe the probiotic ‘Bene-bac’ is a lifesaver. Some friends use it whenever the capybara’s poos become softer and sausage shaped, rather than the encapsulated, olive shaped faeces which capybaras living in their natural habitat pass. Bene-Bac Small Animal Powder is a concentrated live culture of four common digestive bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. Bene-Bac is recommended any time an animal experiences stress from changing nutritional or environmental conditions. Contains 20 million CFU per gram of viable lactic acid producing bacteria. Powder formula is easy to mix with water.   It comes in 4 different types – the Bene-bac designed for rabbits is the correct one to use.

Constipation: Bene-bac can also be used to treat constipation. It is important to ensure your capybara drinks enough water and has access to fresh water to drink 24 hours a day. A healthy diet of unrestricted access to fresh grass should ensure a capybara does not become constipated. Chewing coarse grasses is essential for the health of capybara teeth.

Product Information

Bene-Bac® Plus Small Animal Powder is recommended any time an animal experiences changing nutritional or environmental conditions.

  • Contains seven fat-encapsulated, common microorganisms found in intestinal tract of small mammals
  • Provides help for changing conditions, including, but not limited to birth, breeding, post-surgery, antibiotic therapy, weaning, worming, showing, boarding and travel
  • Guaranteed 20 million colony-forming units (CFU) of viable bacteria per gram
  • Recommended as part of the management program for all animals subjected to adverse conditions
  • May be used for regular maintenance

https://www.petag.com/products/bene-bac-plus-small-animal-powder

3. Milk Formula For Baby Capybaras:

This is the only milk formula specifically formulated for baby capybaras. It has a higher protein content and fat content than other milk formulas for most other species. It comes from Australia.

https://wombaroo.com/shop/ols/products/wombaroo-capybara-milk-replacer-2kg

Wombaroo Capybara Milk Replacer

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: To make 1 litre of milk mix 190g of powder with 870ml of preboiled warm water. Add about half of the water first, mix to a paste then make up to 1 litre with remaining water and mix thoroughly. An electric whisk can be used for mixing.

Feed Impact Colostrum Supplement to new-borns who did not receive sufficient maternal colostrum.

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT: Typical birth weight is 1.5 – 2.0 kg. Average daily weight gain is about 50-100g per day until weaning at 3 months (approx. 8kg body weight)3 .

Analysis

  • Protein 42%
  • Fat 24%
  • Carbohydrate 22%
  • Ash 6%
  • Moisture 4%
  • Metabolisable Energy (ME) 20MJ/kg

©Wombaroo Food Products, Dec 2017. 10 Oborn Rd, Mt Barker SA 5251 http://www.wombaroo.com.au

CAPYBARA MILK REPLACER 1,2,3

TYPICAL ANALYSIS (Powder)

INGREDIENTS: Whole milk solids, whey protein, casein, vegetable oils, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, stabilised vitamin C, vitamins and minerals.

TYPICAL COMPOSITION PER LITRE OF PREPARED MILK Protein83gVitamin E14mgFolic Acid1.0mgSodium500mg
Fat49gVitamin K1.0mgVitamin B1219μgMagnesium80mg
-Omega 31.4gVitamin C520mgBiotin80μgZinc5.1mg
-Omega 63.4gThiamine7.1mgCholine130mgIron5.5mg
Carbohydrate42gRiboflavin1.9mgInositol100mgManganese3.1mg
Energy (ME)3.9MJNiacin29mgCalcium2.2gCopper0.8mg
Vitamin A470μgPantothenic Acid11mgPhosphorus1.6gIodine100μg
Vitamin D34.6mgPyridoxine2.4mgPotassium1400mgSelenium25μg
TYPICAL ANALYSIS (Powder) Protein42%
Fat24%
Carbohydrate22%
Ash6%
Moisture4%
Energy (ME)20 MJ/kg

https://wombaroo.com/shop/ols/products/wombaroo-capybara-milk-replacer-2kg

Bene-bac

Many people with capybaras and guinea pigs believe the probiotic ‘Bene-bac’ is a lifesaver. Some friends use it whenever the capybara’s poos become softer and sausage shaped, rather than the encapsulated, olive shaped faeces which capybaras living in their natural habitat pass. Bene-Bac Small Animal Powder is a concentrated live culture of four common digestive bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. Bene-Bac is recommended any time an animal experiences stress from changing nutritional or environmental conditions. Contains 20 million CFU per gram of viable lactic acid producing bacteria. Powder formula is easy to mix with water.   It comes in 4 different types – the Bene-bac designed for rabbits is the correct one to use.

Constipation: Bene-bac can also be used to treat constipation. It is important to ensure your capybara drinks enough water and has access to fresh water to drink 24 hours a day. A healthy diet of unrestricted access to fresh grass should ensure a capybara does not become constipated. Chewing coarse grasses is essential for the health of capybara teeth.

Product Information

Bene-Bac® Plus Small Animal Powder is recommended any time an animal experiences changing nutritional or environmental conditions.

  • Contains seven fat-encapsulated, common microorganisms found in intestinal tract of small mammals
  • Provides help for changing conditions, including, but not limited to birth, breeding, post-surgery, antibiotic therapy, weaning, worming, showing, boarding and travel
  • Guaranteed 20 million colony-forming units (CFU) of viable bacteria per gram
  • Recommended as part of the management program for all animals subjected to adverse conditions
  • May be used for regular maintenance

https://www.petag.com/products/bene-bac-plus-small-animal-powder

Essential Information If You Already Have a Capybara, Or Are Thinking of Getting a Capybara

These are blogs you might find useful if you are thinking of getting a pet capybara and you want your capybara to live a happy and healthy and long life:

A Pet Capybara Should I Have One:

Momiji and Donut

Pet Capybara FAQs: The Questions People Always Ask

Capybara Diet. Includes Treatments for Dietary Health Issues.

What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara? The Capybara Diet

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

Capybaras Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals Like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard.

Capybara Health Warning: It Will Be Potentially Dangerous To Let Your Capybara Swim in a Chlorinated Swimming Pool Designed and Intended for Human Use

Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables

Critical Care Formula for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Formula Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

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)

I am afraid I have had to remove the photos as some nasty person has been removing the watermark from my photos and uploading them to the internet. It is illegal to remove a watermark.

Please also read my blog:

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.

A few of the video links are not working, I apologise.

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
This is the perfect enclosure for a capybara: lots of grass and a large pond. Photo by Martin MurmelTier Hees

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

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

.
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.

Please also see my blogs:

 

Capybara Diet. Includes Treatments for Dietary Health Issues.

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2021/10/10/capybara-diet-includes-treatments-for-dietary-health-issues-%e6%b0%b4%e8%b1%9a%e9%a3%b2%e9%a3%9f-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%83%80%e3%82%a4%e3%82%a8%e3%83%83%e3%83%88/

 

Not the blog below:

2. 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/

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

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

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

  1. Some plants are toxic for capybaras: 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

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/category/toxic-plants-dangerous-for-capybaras/

6. Capybara Enclosure Design. Husbandry and Welfare of Capybaras in Zoos and Captive Environment

Capybara Enclosure Design. Husbandry and Welfare of Capybaras in Zoos and Captive Environments

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

8. Critical Care for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

*******

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.

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

Please read my blog:

Essential Information If You Already Have a Capybara, Or Are Thinking of Getting a Capybara

These are blogs you might find useful if you are thinking of getting a pet capybara and you want your capybara to live a happy and healthy and long life:

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2021/06/15/a-pet-capybara-should-i-have-one-2/

Pet Capybara FAQs: The Questions People Always Ask

What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara? The Capybara Diet

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

Capybaras Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals Like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard.

Capybara Health Warning: It Will Be Potentially Dangerous To Let Your Capybara Swim in a Chlorinated Swimming Pool Designed and Intended for Human Use

Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables

Critical Care for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Could Save the Life of Your Capybara





A Pet Capybara Should I Have One?

I am afraid I have had to remove the photos as some nasty person has been removing the watermark from my photos and uploading them to the internet. It is illegal to remove a watermark.

I think this will impress you: Capybaras are much more intelligent than most people realise. The ability to conceptualise is a mark of high intelligence. Not every human can conceptualise. However Tuff’n can! Tuff’n works out, in his mind, how to get the ring, which is stuck around his tummy, off.カピバラは、人々が知っているよりもはるかにインテリジェントです。タフンが彼の問題を解決するのを見てください。 水豚比人們知道的要聰明得多。看塔夫解決他的問題 水豚比人們知道的要聰明得多。看塔夫解決他的問題。

Please also see my blogs:

 

Capybara Diet. Includes Treatments for Dietary Health Issues.

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/2021/10/10/capybara-diet-includes-treatments-for-dietary-health-issues-%e6%b0%b4%e8%b1%9a%e9%a3%b2%e9%a3%9f-%e3%82%ab%e3%83%94%e3%83%90%e3%83%a9%e3%83%80%e3%82%a4%e3%82%a8%e3%83%83%e3%83%88/

 

Not this blog: What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara?:

Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables

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

Capybara Health Warning: It Will Be Potentially Dangerous To Let Your Capybara Swim in a Chlorinated Swimming Pool Designed and Intended for Human Use

Capybaras Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals Like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard.

Capybara Enclosure Design. Husbandry and Welfare of Capybaras in Zoos and Captive Environment

Critical Care for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

If you get a pet capybara and decide you cannot keep him/her, contact Janice Wolf at Rocky Ridge Refuge in northern Arkansas who has an Animal Sanctuary and has capybaras she has rescued.

I have never met a pet capybara, who is bonded with a human, who is happy. Capybaras bond so intensely, and are so emotionally sensitive, that they suffer greater separation anxiety than any other species, when that human leaves the home, or goes to work in a part of the house or garage to which they are denied access.

For this reason, if you truly care about animals and their welfare, and want to have capybaras in your life, you will ensure that the capybara is bonded with another capybara or animal that is always accessible to the capybara.

I have witnessed too much stress and anxiety in capybaras who are kept as pets and bonded with a human. It is heartbreaking to experience this.

wn-branfere-july-2012-murmel-tier
This is the perfect enclosure for a capybara: lots of grass and a large pond. Photo by Martin MurmelTier Hees

Also, you have to remember that capybaras are herd animals so if they are bonded with a human, that human becomes part of their herd. If a herd member disappears that means he/she is probably dead, eaten by a predator. This increases the pet capybaras anxiety exponentially.

Every person I know who lives with a pet capybara bonded to them has been bitten. The pet capybara views the human as part of the herd and treats them as they would any other herd member. Capybaras can be quite aggressive to each other, but since they have extra thick skin, their bites are not as harmful as when they bite a human, as humans have thinner skin.

You will also need to be a person with discipline. Once the excitement and novelty of living with a capybara wears off, you must be the sort of person who has the discipline to do the work necessary to ensure the health and emotional well-being of a capybara. Some pet capybara “owners” are happy to pay for expensive vet treatment, but may not have the discipline to do things that require time or hard work.

It is essential that your capybara has access to grass. If your garden does not have enough grass you must be prepared to lay down grass that will grow year round and ensure that the lawn is kept in good condition by scarifying and aerating it every winter.  A less satisfactory alternative is to provide fresh vegetables as a major part of the daily diet.

In their natural habitat a capybara’s diet is made up of 100% fresh vegetation. Of this 70% is grasses. Capybaras spend 45% of the day grazing in the dry season and 31% of the day grazing in the wet season. Grazing is a natural capybara activity, so quite apart from the nutritional benefits, it is very important for your capybara to be able to “graze” whenever they want to.

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

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

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

Levels of the stress hormone cortisol are much higher in some wild animal species kept as pets and bonded with humans than in these species when they are bonded with other members of their own species. From my observations I suspect the same is true with capybaras.

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

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

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

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

Two very important aspects of rodent behaviour have come out of research and from my observations these apply equally to capybaras. Firstly, capybaras NEED to be in control of their lives. This makes them quite different from dogs who will adapt their behaviour to please you. Not many people want a pet that very often will not do what you want him to do.

If you are a control freak do not even think of having a capybara. Capybaras are NOT like dogs, who can be trained to behave in an appropriate way so that they can fit into your family and lifestyle. If you try to train and control a capybara, or indeed any rodent, you will only increase the stress level and anxiety of your captive pet.  Capybaras are very sensitive emotionally and they know when they are being controlled. If you expect to be able to control your pet capybara, your failure to do so, will probably harm, or even destroy, the relationship between you and the capybara.

Secondly, marking their territory is an essential part of capybara behaviour. Leaving a trail of urine where ever they go is a normal social courtesy. Their urine is like a signature or business card. It contains chemical information that communicates an individual’s sex and social status and any health issues the capybara may be experiencing. A capybara’s urine also allows other capybaras to discern genetic relatedness, a process which may have evolved to avoid inbreeding.

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

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

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

Baby capybaras are incredibly adorable but people should not be seduced into thinking that this makes them suitable as pets:

In the video below:  Four-year-old Butter loves being nibbled by two-month-old Ko, Zabon’s two-month-old baby boy. Adult capybaras particularly love to have their ears nibbled and the babies seem to know this. Butter looks absolutely blissful as she rolls over.

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

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

To live with a pet capybara, you need to be very intelligent, very sensitive emotionally, and you need to understand animals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As is the case with the best informed animal trainers, my friend does not use food as a reward. As the Naval officer in charge of training dogs said to me:  “You should not introduce food into the training process as it creates problems”.  Voice is a much more effective reward and Romeo positively fills with pride when my friend says “Good Boy Romeo”.

Additionally, while it may be easier to get an animal to perform a certain act or trick if it is given food as a reward, unfortunately, the end result is that the capybara will only perform or comply with your request if there is a food treat as a reward. Romeo knows what my friend’s expectations are and he sometimes chooses to behave himself.   My friend’s approval is very important to him.   He is an exceptionally good and well behaved capybara. Another thing I like is that my friend doesn’t ask Romeo to do senseless tricks just for the sake of it. There are plenty of useful things for Romeo to learn without turning him into a circus act.

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

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

In this video,

My friend is playing with Romeo, giving him an outlet for the sparring and play fighting that young capybaras enjoy in the wild. Romeo loves it and it allows him to release any pent-up energy and adrenaline. Romeo knows that ‘Inside’ and ‘In  the house’  mean this is designated as my friend’s territory, where he is the boss Capybara, and where Romeo does not spar.   Outside Romeo can play the boss. My friend always lets Romeo win the sparring contests outside so that Romeo feels that he is a successful and important male capybara.

At 2.07 secs you can hear Romeo clicking his teeth. Capybaras do this as a warning signal. The intention is to avoid a fight by persuading your opponent to abandon his attack and run off.   In the wild relatively few fights break out; the dominant male capybara who is number one in the herd hierarchy will warn the subordinate male, who almost always runs away.

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

Having two capybaras who are bonded with each other rather than with a human would be much better, as a fellow capybara can supply all the emotional needs that most humans would be unable to meet. However there can sometimes be problems with this due to the hierarchal nature of capybara society. It is usually impossible to keep two male capybaras, even if they are neutered, as their inclination would be to compete for dominance, i.e. fight.

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

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

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

You can see this behaviour in this video:

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

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

Capybaras have very sharp teeth and nip each other constantly when playing. As capybaras have very thick skin this does not cause any harm, but to a human it would result in constant injury (not serious but painful). Capybaras also occasionally bite each other either in play or when being aggressive. Not many humans could cope with this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I haven’t even mentioned:

1)  Exotic vet bills which can run into thousands of dollars.  Having a capybara neutered by an experienced exotic vet cost at least $600 in 2013. Other bills may be far higher if the capybara becomes ill.

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

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

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

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

Please also see our blogs:

Essential Information If You Already Have a Capybara, Or Are Thinking of Getting a Capybara

These are blogs you might find useful if you are thinking of getting a pet capybara and you want your capybara to live a happy and healthy and long life:

A Pet Capybara Should I Have One:

Pet Capybara FAQs: The Questions People Always Ask

What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara? The Capybara Diet

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

Capybaras Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals Like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard.

Capybara Health Warning: It Will Be Potentially Dangerous To Let Your Capybara Swim in a Chlorinated Swimming Pool Designed and Intended for Human Use

Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables

Critical Care for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Could Save the Life of Your Capybara

For information on the sounds capybaras make with links to videos where you can hear all the wonderful sounds and vocalisations which capybaras make, and what they may mean please see my blog: The Sounds Capybaras Make. Capybara’s Vocalisations, Calls and Barks

Capybara Enclosure Design, Husbandry, the Welfare of Capybaras in Zoos and Captive Environments:

Why I Would NOT Want to Be A Cute Animal, Especially A Cute Capybara

If I Was a Capybara:

I would not want to be dressed in uncomfortable and demeaning clothes. Most animals, including capybaras, hate wearing clothes. Capybaras are so beautiful why would anyone want to cover any part of a capybara’s body.

wn-branfere-july-2012-murmel-tier

This is the perfect enclosure for a capybara: lots of grass and a large pond. Photo by Martin MurmelTier Hees

I would not want to have to earn my keep in a Capybara Cafe. It is a basic tenet of Animal Welfare that animals in captivity must be allowed to express their natural behaviours. For a capybara this means living in a habitat with unlimited access to grazing and a large pond or pool and a natural habitat with access to sun. A famous capybara lived inside the house and, therefore, did not get the sun his bones needed and his bones degenerated. His vet advised that he be put down to avoid further suffering.

Nobody who understands animals would want to see a capybara in a cafe.

It causes me great unhappiness that most people are not at all interested in me, my relationships with other capybaras, my personality and character. They just like my cuteness and only want to see cute photos of nameless capybaras. They do not want to learn about my species and the typical behaviours of my species

Most people who pretend to like us only want to watch very short videos of capybaras behaving cutely or exhibiting attention grabbing behaviour. They do not want to see slightly longer videos which show the normal range of my behaviour, how I behave with other capybaras and my relationships with other capybaras. Most people who pretend to love animals seem to have a very short attention span. My normal behaviour includes stopping to think or listen before continuing to act. Even a few seconds of inaction, on my part, results in these people becoming bored. The last thing they want to watch is a video where they might learn something about me or about capybaras in general.

Capybaras do not like to wear clothes. Dressing a pet capybara causes stress and interferes with the bond between the capybara and the human, as the capybara cannot understand why the human is doing this to him

Capybaras do not like to wear clothes. Dressing a pet capybara causes stress and interferes with the bond between the capybara and the human, as the capybara cannot understand why the human is doing this to him

I would not want to live in a zoo where I was imprisoned in a small, concrete floored enclosure with no grass and a tiny tub of water into which I could barely fit. Even a cattle trough would not allow me to swim and play and exhibit my full range of aquatic behaviours, which I so enjoy doing.

In Japan many people find that petting us relieves their stress, even though endless petting often causes us great stress. Because we are so useful as a source of stress relief there are many, many tiny zoos in totally inappropriate places like shopping malls (there are even 2 lions living in a small enclosure in a shopping mall in Japan!), or right next to noisy, polluted main roads.

I had incontrovertible proof today, if proof was needed, that many people in a Facebook capybara group do not care about capybaras when someone in this group asked what capybaras taste like and the moderator of this group thought this question and the concept it brought to mind were perfectly acceptable! Nobody who loves an animal would ever want to know what they tasted like. The very thought of capybaras being eaten brings tears to the eyes of anyone who loves these exceptional animals. People who really love animals would no more consider it acceptable to discuss eating an animal they loved than the husband they loved (or wife).

I realise that most people do not understand animals and cannot see things from an animal’s perspective. Therefore they do not understand what I am saying here.

I wish everyone who claims to like capybaras really loved us and cared about our emotional and physical well-being.

There is a link between the promotion of animals as “cute” and the trade in wild animals. Animals do not benefit in either case. In both cases animals suffer. Most people who are drawn to animals because of their cuteness do not understand animals and have no interest in these animals as sentient beings, individuals with their own unique personalities whose lives are important to them and to the people who love them.

Where Can I Meet a Capybara in New Zealand

There are 3 zoos in New Zealand which have capybaras, see below.

You might find these videos useful: the first video shows you how to pet a capybara. Not the way you would pet a dog!

Capybara Erogenous Zones Where Capybaras like to Be Petted:

Watch What Happens When Baby Capybara Is Petted:

NZ blog CWF B Cookie 17 Sep 2014 019

Wellington Zoo.

Address: 200 Daniell Street, Newtown, Wellington 6021

Tel: 04 381 6755

Capybara Close Encounter details:

https://wellingtonzoo.com/things-to-do/close-encounters/capybara

“A Close Encounter at Wellington Zoo is more than just meeting an amazing animal close-up. You’re joined by a Zoo Keeper who works with the animals you are meeting. They will introduce you to your encounter animals and answer any of your questions about them, and about Capybaras in the wild and why they’re important. They’ll also happily take a photo of you inside the Capybara Habitat, so don’t forget your camera!”

Age: 6 years old and up. If you’re between 6 and 13 years, you’ll need to have someone 14 years or over (booked and paid) with you on the Close Encounter.  

Time: 1.00pm every day. Participants must arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of their scheduled encounter time.

Cost: $99 per person including Zoo entry.

10% discount for all Zoo Crew members. 

Participants: Maximum of 4 people per encounter. Enclosed shoes must be worn. 

Duration: 30 minutes

Bookings: Please book in advance.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Christchurch

Willowbank will be introducing an animal encounter with capybaras, but the date has not yet been finalised. You can follow them on Facebook, or check their website to see when you will be able to meet their capybaras.

60 Hussey Road, Northwood, Christchurch 8051

Phone 03 359 6226

Auckland Zoo

Auckland zoo has capybaras and usually offers a behind-the-scenes encounter, and the opportunity to be a junior zookeeper. However, at the moment these experiences are not available due to Covid 19. The zoo hopes to be able to offer these animal experiences later in 2021.

Tel: (09) 360 3805

Address: Motions Rd, Auckland 1022

info@aucklandzoo.co.nz

https://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/

US States Which Allow You to Keep a Capybara As a Pet.

Before you seriously consider keeping a capybara as a pet, can I urge you to do the research. Too many capybaras kept as pets die prematurely or end up in refuges. I have written a number of blogs on Capybara Welfare and different aspects of keeping a capybara as a pet, including Diet, Pool Size, How to Treat a Pool to Make It Safe for a Capybara, etc. PLEASE READ THESE. I give links to these blogs at the end of this blog. Please also read these 2 blogs:

Capybara FAQs. The Questions People Always Ask:

A Pet Capybara, Should I Have One?:

What Should I Feed My Pet Capybara? Capybara diet

Below are two of the best links giving information about which States might allow you to keep a capybara as a pet.

NWN Io eating his cecotropes 2012

5 month old Io, Donguri’s little son, eating his cecotropes

However, even within States regulations often vary. Counties, cities and even neighbourhoods may also have their own laws about keeping capybaras as pets. You should also check Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC and R’s) in your area. There may also be regulations included in the Deeds to your home. You may also need to get the agreement of other residents in your area.

Your local Wildlife Fish and Game government department will have more information. Wildlife Fish and Game is also the Department you may have to contact to apply for your license/permit to keep a capybara as a pet. They will want to inspect your property, and if permission is granted there will be further inspections at regular intervals to check on the welfare of your capybara and his/her habitat.

Wildlife Fish and Game in Henderson, Nevada, admitted that they did not know much about keeping capybaras as pets when they issued the permit to keep capybaras as pets to friends of mine. Having read my blogs, they realised how little they knew and became much stricter in issuing permits! (My friends would still have got their permit, but several other would-be capybara pet owners were turned down, which hopefully saved a few capybaras from an unhappy life.)

NWN Magnificent Aoba 10 Sep 2019 034

Aoba

Bear in mind that the information on the Internet about keeping wild animals as pets in different States tends to be general in nature, so you should contact your local authorities for the precise regulations that pertain to keeping a capybara in the place where you live. For example, some websites suggest you cannot keep any wild animal as a pet in Washington State, but in reality this refers primarily to dangerous wild animals. In Washington State you may be able to keep a capybara as a pet depending on the area, particularly if your area does not have sidewalks. However, you may also have to get the agreement of other residents in the area.

The following states generally allow people to keep capybaras as pets: Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Washington, North Carolina, Tennessee; I have also been told parts of New York state. You will still need to get a licence/permit to keep a capybara as a pet in most of the states.

It is much more difficult to get permission to keep a pet capybara in Europe, where Animal Welfare Laws tend to be much stricter. Many European countries do not permit the keeping of wild animals as pets. In some countries you may be able to keep a capybara as a pet if you fulfil very stringent requirements; this may be the case in France and Poland. Keeping a capybara as a pet is illegal in Italy. (A friend of mine in Italy rescued a badly injured nutria who had escaped from the farm where he was being reared for his fur.) Nutrias were brought to Italy for the fur trade and some escaped. There are also escaped wild nutria in Paris in the river Seine, and other parts of France.

These are the best links I could find:

Born Free USA is a National Animal Advocacy nonprofit organisation:

Summary of State Laws Relating to Private Possession of Exotic Animals       (http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a2_exotic_animals_summary.php)

This is another useful link: https://www.animallaw.info/content/map-private-exotic-pet-ownership-laws

Remember, not all the information given on the Internet is necessarily entirely accurate.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, read these blogs if you are seriously thinking of keeping a capybara as a pet. Capybaras are exceptionally sensitive and emotional (they have very high emotional intelligence) and suffer stress much more than dogs. They suffer extreme “separation anxiety” (if they are bonded with a human) every time the human leaves the home. Listening to the plaintive cry of a pet capybara (who I was pet sitting) every time his “owner” left home was heartbreaking, and the experience will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Protect Your Capybaras and Guinea Pigs from Power Cords and Electric Cables

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

Capybara Health Warning: It Will Be Potentially Dangerous To Let Your Capybara Swim in a Chlorinated Swimming Pool Designed and Intended for Human Use. One capybara died, due to the chlorine in his pool, because his owner, who knew about my blogs, didn’t bother to do any research.

Capybaras Beware of Toxic Plants, Chemicals and Poisonous Animals Like Scorpions and Snakes. Humans Remove These from Your Land, Garden and Yard.

Critical Care for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

I have written many other blogs which are useful for anyone thinking of keeping a capybara as a pet, at my blog site “Capybara World” on WordPress:

https://capybaraworld.wordpress.com/

An Amusing Account: When Donguri Gave Birth in 2008, at Nagasaki Bio Park. 日本語。どんぐりはもみじや楓を出産したときは

English translation of blog written by Nagasaki Bio Park staff in Japanese. All photographs by Nagasaki Bio Park.                               

When Donguri gave birth to her 3 pups, Momiji, Kaede and Akkun, on 10 September, 2008, she chose to have her babies on Capuchin Island, away from human intervention. She does not have a very high opinion of humans, and wanted to protect them and keep them away from the visitors, which is why she chose to have them on the island. She was most perturbed when the babies were removed from the island by the keepers, and taken to a special enclosure. She quickly followed them there.

This is a link to the original Japanese version written by Nagasaki Bio Park:

http://www.biopark.co.jp/staff/2008/09/post_245.html

(I have kept some of the “Google translate” translations, as they give the flavour of the Japanese humour, and are easy to understand)

September 10, 2008, three capybara pups are born! “Donguri (Acorn)”is the mother, “Takeshi” is the father. (Donguri means Acorn in English.)

These days (at least since 2012) the female capybaras who are about to give birth are put in a separate enclosure, with strings across the top, to protect the newborn pups from crows. Perhaps in 2008 the pregnant capybaras were allowed to give birth in the main enclosure with the rest of the herd. Or perhaps the keepers didn’t realise that Donguri was about to give birth. Donguri is a very large capybara.

Donguri gave birth during the night, and chose to have her pups on the largest of the three islands in the pond, known as “Capuchin Island”. In the wild, capybara mothers go somewhere quiet to give birth, slightly apart from the main herd, in an area with vegetation which will offer some protection from predators. In captive situations, some people separate pregnant capybaras shortly before they give birth, for fear that the male capybaras will attack the pups. However, in reality there is little evidence of infanticide in capybara herds, and it is very stressful for a mother capybara to be separated from her herd. All the capybara fathers I know, have been excellent fathers, very involved, and helping to look after their pups.

When the keepers arrived on the morning of 10 September, and discovered that Donguri had given birth, they set about moving the pups to a separate enclosure for their safety. Donguri was not happy about this!

Donguri: “I hear a noise! What is happening by the pond?”

“Oh no, the keepers have arrived, and are watching me. I wonder what they want?”

Keeper: “First, in order to capture the babies, you must separate the mother and babies, for the time being.”
Keepers: “. ーDonguri, Horahora To~tsu I have gone a little beyond”
Donguri: “I am not happy with what you are doing. I cannot forgive you Fuga~tsu (angry)”
“I am usually a very calm, laid-back capybara. However, this time I will intimidate the keepers with a fierce bark. “
Splash!  Reluctantly I have been forced into the pond!”

Donguri stays in the pond. She watches intently to see what the keepers are doing to her pups, on Capuchin Island. She doesn’t want to go to an isolated enclosure, separated from the herd.

Donguri: “My babies, are they all right I wonder …”

Keeper: “Finally, we begin to capture the baby capybaras. We must not injure the babies.”

The rest of the herd vocalises loudly: “We must intimidate the keepers to protect Donguri and her babies”

Keeper: “Right! I have managed to catch one baby. This is very difficult, the pups move very quickly”.

“Finally, I have managed to catch the other two babies. If I don’t give them back to Donguri soon……”

Keepers: “Donguri, wait! Hurry hurry!

Keeper: “The 3 babies are captured. Everyone is safe. The crows did not cause any injuries, fortunately. The babies are very energetic, so I think they were born some time ago, perhaps just after the Biopark closed yesterday.”

Babies: “Where are we? Where is our mother?”

Donguri goes into this separate enclosure first, isolated from the herd. “Such excitement! This reunion.”
Donguri:. “Well I’m glad everyone is safe and sound. We are lucky! Now I will climb the rocky hill to get away from the humans. Let’s go!”

With that, the babies follow their mother, Donguri, up the mossy, rocky slope. “We are all very healthy!”

“Hey, wait Yo!”

たかさん– Taka san

Giant Rodents of South America Roedores gigantes de América del Sur カピバラの巨大な祖先水豚巨祖先

Imagine a capybara the size of a huge, male buffalo!

The largest rodent discovered so far is the massive Josephoartigasia Monesi, who was about the size of a bull buffalo (and much bigger than a 2-year-old Hereford bull – a Hereford bull only weighs about 700 kg!) and weighed about 1000 kg, with a very powerful bite force. Isostylomys laurillardi is thought to have been nearly as large.  Arazamys castiglionii weighed about 800 – 900 kg, smaller than Josephoartigasia Monesi and Isostylomys, but larger than Phoberomys; they were almost the size of a buffalo.

For reference: Pleistocene: 2.58 million years ago – 11,700 years ago, ended with the Ice Age. Pliocene: 5.333 million years ago – 2.58 million years ago. Miocene: 23.03 million years ago – 5.333 million years ago. Oligocene: 33.9 million years ago – 23.03 million years ago. Tertiary: 65 million years ago – 2.588 million years ago. Quaternary 2.6 million years ago into the present.

Phoberomys compared to human size and capybara

Size comparison between human, capybara and the genus Phoberomys. Phoberomys only weighed about 700 kg. Josephoartigasia Monesi was much larger and weighed 1000 kg

This is an overview of some of the many species of giant rodent who roamed South America during the Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs, which lasted from 23 million years ago until the start of the last Ice Age, 11,700 years ago. Most of these giant rodents lived between 9 – 2 million years ago.

Palaeontologists believe there may have been over 50 species of giant rodent, but when the fossil evidence consists of only one or two fragments of mandible or skull (the bone most likely to survive over millions of years), or a tooth, it can be challenging to identify a species! Teeth survive for thousands, even millions, of years because of the strength of the enamel covering the teeth which is 97% mineral making teeth stronger than bones. Teeth and fragments of skull or mandible, are often the only fossil evidence that palaeontologists have when trying to identify different species of these long extinct giant rodents. Thus the different morphology and size of the teeth, and differing features of fragmentary pieces of skull or mandible, are crucial clues when identifying long extinct species.

Rodents appear in the fossil record in South America at least 31.5 million years ago, during the very early Oligocene.  The earliest caviomorph fossils have been found in Peru and dated to the late Oligocene. Capybaras are caviomorph rodents; the Caviomorpha clade is a subgroup of hystricognath (see paragraph below) rodents. South America was separated from other landmasses during most of the Tertiary, so evidence is lacking as to how rodents reached South America. Hystricognaths originated in Asia, but the South American rodents probably arrived from Africa by raft. The ancestors of most of today’s South American rodents, including capybaras, probably appeared between the middle and late Miocene. These giant rodent lineages in South America went extinct over 1 million years ago, some millions of years ago, with only the capybara alive today as the largest extant rodent. Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, the most numerous and well-known of the two species of modern-day capybara, weighs on average about 50 to 60 kg, and is about the size of a large dog.

The Hystricognath rodents are an Infraorder of rodents distinguished from other rodents by the bone structure of their skulls. There are 18 families within the Hystricognathi, divided into 2 Parvorders, the Caviomorpha and the Phiomorpha. Capybaras are representatives of the Family Caviidae in the Parvorder Caviomorpha. Caviomorpha are mostly found in South America, with a few species in North America and the Caribbean. The Phiomorpha are found in the Old World.

A Clade is a group believed to include all the evolutionary descendants of a common ancestor.

Rodents are the most abundant group of living mammals. They also vary enormously in size. The smallest, about the size of a pygmy mouse, weighs only a few grams, while the largest, the extinct giant rodent Josephoartigasia Monesi weighed about 1000 kg. Rodents are also one of the most diverse mammals in South America, with over 160 species in total, either living today or extinct species. Today’s rodents include arboreal (tree dwellers), gliding rodents, fossorial (adapted to digging and living primarily but not exclusively underground), cursorial (adapted specifically to run; i.e. can run fast or maintain a constant speed over a long distance) and semi aquatic rodents. During the Tertiary rodents’ range of body size and physical characteristics was wider than today.

Some scientists have suggested these giant rodents may have gone extinct because they were not fast enough to outrun predators, and too large to dig burrows to hide in. Climate change may also have contributed to their demise.

Other extinct giant rodents include: the genus Eumegamys who weighed about 800 – 900 kg, and was a similar size to a hippopotamus. Phoberomys burmeisteri, believed to be the largest of this genus. Phoberomys Pattersoni thought to have weighed about 700 kg, and Phoberomys insolita (although Phoberomys insolita may have been a sub adult Phoberomys pattersoni) thought to have weighed about 400 kg. These predate Josephoartigasia Monesi and lived during the late Miocene in modern day Venezuela. Telicomys gigantissimus, the size of a small rhinoceros, about 2 meters long and with a weight of about 500 kg. and about 70% of the size of Phoberomys pattersoni.  Neoepiblema Acreensis, weighed about 80 kg. (See below for more about these giant rodents)

J Monesi to

Artist’s impression of Josephoartigasia Monesi, who was the size of a massive bull buffalo and weighed about 1000 kg

In 1987, the almost complete skull of Josephoartigasia Monesi was discovered in modern day Uruguay on the coast of the Rio De La Plata, in the San José formation. Based on the strata of the San José formation in which the J Monesi fossil was found, J Monesi lived 4 – 2 million years ago, during the Pliocene and early Pleistocene.

J Monesi is believed to have lived in a lowland forested, wetland habitat such as a delta or estuary. By identifying the diet of an extinct species (see below) scientists are able to speculate on the type of habitat the species lived in based on the vegetation it foraged. J Monesi shared its habitat with giant ground sloths, and predators such as enormous flightless “terror birds” sparassodonts, short faced bears and sabre toothed tigers.

Another feature of J Monesi that is especially interesting are its teeth. J Monesi had enormous, incredibly powerful, chisel -shaped incisors, an adaptation which allowed these incisors to be successfully used in hierarchy battles between males to ensure access to females and breeding rights, and in defence against predators. J Monesi may also have used their enormous incisors for digging in the same way that an elephant uses its tusks. These incisors were able to resist much greater forces than the molars, powered by the masticatory muscles, could generate. The molars are believed to have been used to masticate tough vegetation with forceful bites. Josephoartigasia Monesi’s diet probably consisted of grasses, aquatic plants and the bark of trees and bushes. As large mammals they would have been able to utilise these coarse, low quality food resources which much smaller species would not have been able to digest.

Representatives of the Dinomyidae family frequently had incisors which were able to resist much greater forces than their molars.

Scientific Classification: Josephoartigasia Monesi    Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class Mammalia Order: Rodentia Suborder: Hystricomorpha Infraorder: Hystricognath Family: Dinomyidae Genus: Josephoartigasia Species: Josephoartigasia Monesi

It can be challenging to make an accurate identification of different extinct rodent species as palaeontologists are often working from scant fossil remains, consisting of only a few fragments of mandible or skull (the bone most likely to survive) or a tooth. Some fossils which were thought to represent different species have been reassessed as representing juveniles, sub adults and adults of the same species. Some of these mega rodents had a unique, and complicated tooth morphology which changed as they aged (as is the case with capybaras). This change accounts for some of the erroneous designations of fossils, which were initially thought to represent different species’, but are now considered to be representatives of the same species, but of different ages. With other species the size of the teeth did not grow or change as the animal developed from being a juvenile to an adult. This means that the juvenile and the adult had the same sized teeth and were not different species.

Likewise, it can be difficult to gauge the size of the animal, and make size comparisons between different extinct species, unless the identical parts of the respective bodies are found. For example, the body size for Phoberomys pattersoni is based on parts of the fore limb and hind limb, and these were compared with this species closest living relative, the Pacarana. In the case of Josephoartigasia Monesi an almost complete skull was found. Although J Monesi is known only from this 1.7 foot (just over half a meter) long skull, this provided enough fossil evidence to indicate that this was a new species and the largest rodent who ever lived. To arrive at a body mass for J Monesi this skull was compared with several other living rodent species.

There are two methods scientists use to identify the diet of prehistoric species. Where fossil evidence is available scientists can investigate the preserved contents of the gut and faeces, both inside the body (cololites) and outside the body (coprolites). Scientists also study the chemical isotope in the fossil bones and teeth of these long extinct species, and compare this information with the carbon isotopes of different varieties of plants, to identify the animal’s diet. The isotopic signature of the food eaten by the animal is incorporated into the fossil bones and teeth, and remain stable over tens of thousands, even millions, of years. Teeth are often the only fossil remains of an extinct species which palaeontologists find, as teeth, being harder due to their enamel cover, survive better than bones. Palaeontologists also used the condition of Josephoartigasia Monesi’s teeth, the degree of wear and worn edges, pits and scratches, to assess the type of diet this species relied on.

The almost complete skull of J Monesi provided new information about the anatomy of extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae family who are primarily known from scant fossil evidence. The mandible is the largest and strongest facial bone, and forms the lower jaw, acting as a receptacle for the lower teeth. Together with the temporal bone, the mandible articulates on either side forming the temporomandibular joint. Scientists compared the mandible of J Monesi to that of its closest living relative, the Pacarana, to help them rebuild J Monesi skull. To simulate how J Monesi would bite at different locations along the jaw, scientists used a 3-D scan of this Pacarana mandible. J Monesi had an extremely powerful bite, estimated to be 3 times more powerful than a tiger’s bite, and comparable to modern day large crocodilians. The maximum bite force of its incisors has been estimated at close to 500 kg. The molars could only exert a maximum force of about 150 kg (about 300 lbs); thus the incisors were able to exert a much more powerful force.  J Monesi’s incisors were extremely strong and could resist greater forces than the masticatory muscles of the molars could generate, leading scientists to speculate that the primary role of these incisors was use in hierarchical combat, or defence against predators. The molars were primarily used to chew tough vegetation.

Palaeontologists are also able to estimate the bite force and how the stress of chewing might have affected the skull, by using an engineering technique, Finite Element Analysis. The maximum bite force of Josephoartigasia Monesi has been estimated at a maximum of 4165N, which is 3 times as powerful as a tiger.

Josephoartigasia Monesi’s closest living relative is the Pacarana, a critically endangered species at high risk of extinction, and the last surviving member of “their” family, the Dinomyidae. The Pacarana, Dinomys branickii, is a rare hystricognath rodent found only in small areas in South America. They are the second largest rodent species alive today; second only to the capybara, with a body length of about 80 cm (31 inches) and weighing about 15 kg (32 lbs). Pacaranas have a large head and a thick, furry tail. The name comes from the Tupi word meaning “false paca”, named because they look superficially similar to the paca. Due to the Pacarana’s low population levels, scientists had believed the animals were extinct. Like many species around the world today, they are vulnerable to human predation and habitat loss caused by human activities.

The Dinomyidae are a family of hystricognath rodents native to South America. Several extinct members of this family include the largest rodents who have ever lived, including the largest so far discovered, Josephoartigasia Monesi. The Dinomyidae are believed to have been large grazing mammals, the largest representatives of this family disappeared after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago, connecting North and South America. There were once many species in this group but now only the Pacarana survives.

The earliest fossils of the Dinomyidae family date from the middle Miocene, and fossils of this family have been found almost throughout South America. The clade reached its highest diversity (i.e. the greatest number of species of this family) in the late Miocene. The family is subdivided into 4 or 5 subfamilies: Potamarchinae (which includes the oldest known representatives of the family, possibly from the middle Miocene to the early Pleistocene). Gyriabrinae (late Miocene to late Pliocene). Dinomyinae (including the only living representative, Dinomyinae branickii – Pacarana). Eumegamyinae (late Miocene to the late Pliocene, and includes some of the largest members of the family). Tetrastylinae (late Miocene to late Pliocene. May be a subgroup of Eumegamyinae or Dinomyinae). It is not possible to determine the anatomy of these animals as there is insufficient fossil evidence: just a few fragments of mandible or skull, or a tooth.

Isostylomys laurillardi.

Artist’s impression of Isostylomys laurillardi, who was almost as large as Josephoartigasia Monesi

Isostylomys laurdillardi, is one of the largest species of giant rodent who lived during the Miocene epoch, 9 – 6.8 million years ago. This species is believed to have weighed almost 1000 kg.

In 2016 scientists found an almost complete and intact skull and part of the jaw of one adult, and the complete lower jaw, with all its teeth intact, and the right heel of a juvenile, of this species. The fossils were found in southern Uruguay in the Camacho Formation of the Rio de la Plata coastal region. Uruguay’s Camacho Formation was laid down during the late Miocene epoch, 12 million years ago – 5 million years ago.

The fossils were in exceptional condition, the best preserved fossils found so far for this species; previous finds amounted to only fragments of skull and the odd tooth. This allowed the scientists to compare tooth development between the adult and juvenile of this species. This led to a new understanding of the other species in this genus, which had previously only been studied from fragmentary fossil evidence.

These fossils, which represent an adult and juvenile, raise questions regarding the classification within their genus, Isostylomys, suggesting that fossils thought to indicate different, related species may in fact represent a single species, due to the way teeth are formed as the rodent ages.

The scientists discovered that the adult tooth shape emerged quite early in the rodent’s development, growing larger as the animal matured. By evaluating earlier fossils, considered to be the tooth forms for prenatal, juvenile and adult, they learned that adult tooth forms could vary in size. This led to an understanding that fossils which had been thought to represent related species, three species of Isostylomys, were in fact just one species of Isostylomys, representing different age groups, rather than different species.

As a result of this analysis, which showed that from a very young age the giant rodents were very similar to the adults, scientists have been able to learn how the world’s largest fossil rodents grow.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Hystricomorpha
Infraorder: Hystricognathi
Superfamily: Chinchilloidea
Family: †Dinomyidae
Genus: †Isostylomys
Species:Isostylomys laurillardi

Arazamys castiglionii weighed about 800 – 900 kg, smaller than Josephoartigasia Monesi and Isostylomys, but larger than Phoberomys. They were almost the size of a buffalo. This species lived in the late Miocene. An incomplete skull of an adult was found in the Camacho Formation, in the San Jose Department, Uruguay. As with many other members of the Dinomyidae family, the molars are small relative to the large, powerful incisors and the estimated size of the skull.

Phoberomys-Rodentia-member

Artist’s impression of Phoberomys pattersonii

Phoberomys pattersoni was a giant caviomorph rodent who lived during the late Miocene from about 9.0 – 6.8 million years ago. They lived in South America, in modern day Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru. Sedimentary evidence indicates they lived in coastal wetland habitats consisting of lagoons of shallow water separated from the coast by barriers of sand.

An almost complete fossil skeleton of Phoberomys pattersoni was discovered in 2000, in the Urumaco formation of the Orinoco River delta in Venezuela. The skeleton measured 3 meters (9.8 feet) with a 1.5 meter long tail (4.9 feet). This species was estimated to have weighed about 700 kg (1540 lbs). These size and weight estimates are reasonably accurate as almost an entire skeleton was discovered.

In appearance they may have looked more like a guinea pig than a rat. However, the humerus (which is part of the forelimb) gave a smaller estimate of body size than the femur (which is part of the hind limb), 436 kg as against 741 kg. This suggests that the hind limbs played a more important role in locomotion and weight support. The forelimbs may have been used to manipulate food as is the case with the Pacarama (Dinomyidae branickii) the only living member of this family.

The genus Phoberomys were herbivores, and like many rodent species they had high crowned premolars and molars indicating they were grazing animals i.e. grass eaters. The morphology of its teeth indicates that its diet was abrasive: coarse grasses and probably included aquatic grasses. Like the capybara, Phoberomys are believed to have been semi aquatic. Like Josephoartigasia Monesi, Phoberomys is a member of the family Diomyidae, whose only living relative, the Pacarana, is in danger of extinction.

Predators would have included large, very powerful birds like Brontornis and Kelenken, giant crocodilians. Sabre toothed marsupials would have preyed on the young.

As mentioned previously, reclassification sometimes occurs following further research, due to the challenges of identifying a species based on scant fossil remains, possibly only a few bones or teeth.

As an indication of this: the genus Phoberomys was thought, at one time, to consist of seven species, including: Phoberomys burmeisteri, Phoberomys praecursor, Phoberomys insolita, Phoberomys lozanoi and Phoberomys minima. However, a more recent study of Phoberomys fossils found in the Entre Rios province in Argentina, and dated to the late Miocene epoch, concluded that these were in fact just one species: Phoberomys burmeisteri. The study concluded that the differences among the fossils reflect different ages and stages of development of a single species. This gives an idea of just how difficult it is to accurately identify species from a very sparse fossil record.

Recent research also suggests that Phoberomys pattersoni and Phoberomys insolita may in fact be the same species. Phoberomys insolita had been estimated to be a little larger.

Scientific Classification Phoberomys pattersoni:    Kingdom: Animalia   Phylum: Chordata   Class: Mammalia   Order: Rodentia   Suborder: Histricomorpha   Family: Dinomyidae;   Genus: Phoberomys   Species: Phoberomys pattersoni

Phoberomys burmeisteri is believed to be the largest member of the Phoberomys genus who lived in the late Miocene epoch. The remains of this species was found in the Ituzaingó formation in Entre Rios province in Argentina.

Eumegamys is an extinct genus of giant rodent, about the size of a hippopotamus, of the family Dinomyidae. They lived during the late Miocene and Pliocene. Their fossil remains have been found in the Solimoes Formation in modern day Brazil, the Urumaco Formation in Venezuela, and the Ituzaingó formation in Argentina. It’s skull was about half a meter long (1.65 ft).

Telicomys gigantissimus lived in South America during the late Miocene and early Pliocene epochs (11.2 million – 5.3 million years ago). They were about the size of a small rhinoceros, about 2 meters long, and are thought to have weighed about 500 kg. They also were a member of the family Dinomyidae related to the Pacarana.

Eumegamys paranensis is an extinct species of giant rodent of the family Dinomyidae, who lived during the late Miocene and Pliocene in modern day Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. It’s skull was 50 cm long. Evaluation of its cheek teeth, and the complexity of the crown, indicate that its diet consisted of coarse vegetation and demanding food items, and it was able to process more food each time it chewed (i.e. each masticatory cycle). Eumegamys paranensis fed on a varied diet, foraging close to the ground. It was probably a wide-ranging species, living near water and in gallery forests (narrow bands of forested area lining rivers) as would have been found in the Mesopotamic area of what is now the Paraná River system in north-east Argentina. This genus also lived in Brazil and Argentina.

Neoepiblema Acreensis is an extinct giant rodent, a relative of chinchillas, who weighed about 80 kg and lived about 10 million years ago in present-day Brazil in South America.

Using computerised tomography to look inside fossil skulls, scientists estimate that the brain of Neoepiblema Acreensis weighed just 47 g, meaning this rodent’s brain was unusually small compared to its body size. Two Neoepiblema Acreensis fossil skulls were studied, which gave an encephalisation quotient of 0.20 for one and 0.33 for the other. South American rodents alive today have an average encephalisation quotient above 1.05.

To compare the brain sizes of different animals of varying weights, scientists calculate a species’ “encephalisation quotient”, which measures the difference between the expected brain size based on body size, and the actual brain size for an animal of a given weight. Any value under 1 means that an animal’s brain is smaller than expected. The ratio between the size of the brain and the size of the body is thought to indicate intellectual ability.

This has led scientists to speculate that Neoepiblema Acreensis was not the brightest rodent. If this was indeed the case, the reason may have been that there were few predators to outwit so a larger brain was not worth the “cost” of maintaining a larger brain.

Critical Care Formula for Capybaras. Capybara Health Care. This Formula Could Save the Life of Your Capybara.

See below for the milk formula for baby capybaras. It is of course very important that any baby capybara who is not suckling (i.e. drinking his mother’s milk) is given the right formula of milk in order for the baby to thrive.

Please also see my blog about capybara diet. Many pet capybaras die prematurely because they are not given the right diet:

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 capybara who is not eating properly, or becoming very thin, this nutritional formula made by Oxbow, Critical Care for Herbivores, is recommended by a vet who specialises in treating capybaras. Your capybara may have tooth problems (which will need to be attended to) which makes chewing painful, or he might have an illness, or be recovering from surgery. This product has everything a capybara needs for optimum nutrition and health and recovery.

Remember that if your capybara has not been eating very much, his stomach will have shrunk. This means he will only be able to eat small quantities of food at any one time. You will need to keep offering him this formula, in small quantities, throughout the day to ensure he gets adequate nutrition.

As capybaras age, like humans, they may lose their appetites, or start to eat less. This will result in their stomach shrinking and they may only be able to eat a smaller amount of food at any one time; but they should be encouraged to eat more frequently to offset this. (This will not be necessary if the capybara has access to unlimited grazing or pellets 24/7 and continues to eat sufficient grass and pellets). This Critical Care formula is a good way to boost a capybara’s nutritional requirement.

Critical Care for Herbivores is a high protein, high energy, high fibre, easily digested powdered formula, with all the essential vitamins and minerals.

It is designed to be palatable so that your capybara enjoys it and wants to eat. It contains high-fibre Timothy hay to support proper gut physiology and digestion. It comes as a powder.

One friend found that his capybara did not like this formula when it was mixed with water, but he loved it when it was mixed with unsweetened almond milk. His capybara had already established a love of drinking unsweetened almond milk.

If your capybara is bonded with the human that human MUST give a capybara lots and lots of love and petting. You will need to spend much more time with him than you normally would otherwise we might lose the will to live, give up and die. Petting releases the hormone, oxytocin, and induces relaxation and plays a significant role in the bonding process. Your capybara will be very anxious during this time when he is suffering, and petting will help him relax. I cannot stress too strongly the importance of “being there” for your capybara at this critical time. Your love and time spent with the capybara could be the difference between life and death.

A Critical Care Formula in the form of a crunchy “biscuit”, is also available, and chewing it will be good for your capybara’s teeth.

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VET AS SOON AS YOU BECOME CONCERNED.

“Developed with the assistance of top exotics veterinarians and nutritionists, Critical Care is the industry standard in recovery nutrition for herbivores with poor nutritional status resulting from illness or surgery.  Critical Care contains all the essential nutrients of a complete diet, as well as high-fiber timothy hay to support proper gut physiology and digestion.”

Critical Care for Herbivores, contains the following:

Timothy Grass Meal, Soybean Hulls, Soybean Meal, Wheat Germ, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Soybean Oil, Flaxseed, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Papaya, Pineapple, Cane Molasses, Natural Apple Flavor, Natural Banana Flavor, DL-Methionine, L-Glutamine, Oat Groats, Wheat Middlings, Sodium Bentonite, Yeast Culture (dehydrated), Fat Product, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Inulin, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Zine Proteinate, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Rosemary Extract

Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude Protein (min) 17.00%
  • Crude Fat (min) 5.00%
  • Crude Fiber (min) 21.00%
  • Crude Fiber (max) 26.00%
  • Moisture (max) 10.00%
  • Ash (max) 10.00%
  • Calcium (min) 0.60%
  • Calcium (max) 0.80%
  • Phosphorus (min) 0.40%
  • Vitamin A (min) 10,000 IU/kg
  • Vitamin D3 (min) 900 IU/kg
  • Vitamin E (min) 190 IU/kg
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (min) 1,500 mg/kg

Calorie Content

  • Metabolizable Energy (calculated) 2,660 kcal/kg or 24 kcal/Tbsp

“Product Highlights:

  • Powdered formula mixes easily to desired consistency
  • Highly versatile – can be tube fed, assist-fed by syringe or spoon, or self-fed by bowl or as top dressing
  • High in fiber; low in carbohydrates
  • Contains readily-absorbable chelated minerals and beneficial prebiotics
  • No refined sugars, artificial preservatives or simple carbohydrates
  • High digestibility and palatability
  • Contains stabilized form of Vitamin C

Available in Anise and Apple-Banana flavors.

Sizes: 36g, 141g, 454g (anise); 141g, 456g (apple-banana)”

https://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/our-products/professional-line/critical-care

The Oxbow critical care formula is also available as a “Fine Grind“, with the same essential nutrition as Critical Care – Herbivore, but in a finer particle size.

Some recovery and emergency cases require added versatility when it comes to delivering critical nutrition.  Critical Care Herbivore – Fine Grind contains the same essential nutrition as Critical Care – Herbivore, but in a finer particle size made to flow easily through nasogastric feeding tubes as small as 5 Fr.  Because of its smaller particle size, Critical Care Herbivore – Fine Grind is ideal for use with small and young patients.

Sizes: 100g

Product Highlights:

  • Finer particle size than Critical Care
  • Powdered formula mixes easily to desired consistency
  • Highly versatile – easily flows through nasogastric tube and syringe
  • High in fiber; low in carbohydrates
  • Contains readily-absorbable chelated minerals and beneficial prebiotics
  • No refined sugars, artificial preservatives or simple carbohydrates
  • High digestibility and palatability
  • Contains stabilized form of Vitamin C

https://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/our-products/professional-line/critical-care-fine-grind

Bene-bac

Another product which is very helpful for capybaras with less serious digestive problems is Bene-bac. Friends of mine use this whenever their capybaras become constipated or have very soft poos.

Friends of mine who live with 2 capybaras believe a product called ‘Bene-bac’ (which is a pro-biotic) is a lifesaver, and could have saved the life of their first capybara.  They use it whenever the capybara’s poos become softer and sausage shaped, rather than the encapsulated, olive shaped faeces which capybaras living in their natural habitat pass. Bene-Bac Small Animal Powder is a concentrated live culture of four common digestive bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. Bene-Bac is recommended any time an animal experiences stress from changing nutritional or environmental conditions. Contains 20 million CFU per gram of viable lactic acid producing bacteria. Powder formula is easy to mix with water.   It comes in 4 different types – the Bene-bac designed for rabbits is the correct one to use.

Constipation: Bene-bac can also be used to treat constipation. It is important to ensure your capybara drinks enough water and has access to fresh water to drink 24 hours a day. A healthy diet of unrestricted access to fresh grass should ensure a capybara does not become constipated. Chewing coarse grasses is essential for the health of capybara teeth.

Product Information

Bene-Bac® Plus Small Animal Powder is recommended any time an animal experiences changing nutritional or environmental conditions.

  • Contains seven fat-encapsulated, common microorganisms found in intestinal tract of small mammals
  • Provides help for changing conditions, including, but not limited to birth, breeding, post-surgery, antibiotic therapy, weaning, worming, showing, boarding and travel
  • Guaranteed 20 million colony-forming units (CFU) of viable bacteria per gram
  • Recommended as part of the management program for all animals subjected to adverse conditions
  • May be used for regular maintenance

https://www.petag.com/products/bene-bac-plus-small-animal-powder

 YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VET AS SOON AS YOU BECOME CONCERNED.

Milk Formula For Baby Capybaras:

This is the only milk formula specifically formulated for baby capybaras. It has a higher protein content and fat content than other milk formulas for most other species. It comes from Australia.

https://wombaroo.com/shop/ols/products/wombaroo-capybara-milk-replacer-2kg

Wombaroo Capybara Milk Replacer

DIRECTIONS FOR USE: To make 1 litre of milk mix 190g of powder with 870ml of preboiled warm water. Add about half of the water first, mix to a paste then make up to 1 litre with remaining water and mix thoroughly. An electric whisk can be used for mixing.

Feed Impact Colostrum Supplement to new-borns who did not receive sufficient maternal colostrum.

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT: Typical birth weight is 1.5 – 2.0 kg. Average daily weight gain is about 50-100g per day until weaning at 3 months (approx. 8kg body weight)3 .

Analysis

  • Protein 42%
  • Fat 24%
  • Carbohydrate 22%
  • Ash 6%
  • Moisture 4%
  • Metabolisable Energy (ME) 20MJ/kg

©Wombaroo Food Products, Dec 2017. 10 Oborn Rd, Mt Barker SA 5251 http://www.wombaroo.com.au

CAPYBARA MILK REPLACER 1,2,3

TYPICAL ANALYSIS (Powder)

INGREDIENTS: Whole milk solids, whey protein, casein, vegetable oils, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, stabilised vitamin C, vitamins and minerals.

TYPICAL COMPOSITION PER LITRE OF PREPARED MILK Protein83gVitamin E14mgFolic Acid1.0mgSodium500mg
Fat49gVitamin K1.0mgVitamin B1219μgMagnesium80mg
-Omega 31.4gVitamin C520mgBiotin80μgZinc5.1mg
-Omega 63.4gThiamine7.1mgCholine130mgIron5.5mg
Carbohydrate42gRiboflavin1.9mgInositol100mgManganese3.1mg
Energy (ME)3.9MJNiacin29mgCalcium2.2gCopper0.8mg
Vitamin A470μgPantothenic Acid11mgPhosphorus1.6gIodine100μg
Vitamin D34.6gPyridoxine2.4mgPotassium1400mgSelenium25μg
TYPICAL ANALYSIS (Powder) Protein42%
Fat24%
Carbohydrate22%
Ash6%
Moisture4%
Energy (ME)20 MJ/kg

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https://wombaroo.com/shop/ols/products/wombaroo-capybara-milk-replacer-2kg