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Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
April 27, 2011 11:41 AM   Subscribe

I just want to remind everyone that capybara, previously mentioned on MetaFilter, are awesome. The subject of song and poetry, capybara are the world's largest (non-extinct) rodent. This site has more information, including a list of zoos where you might find them and information on capybara in literature or on your dinner plate,

Like muskrats, capybara are considered fish by the Vatican for the purpose of determining what can be eaten during Lent. Unrelatedly, they're also pretty cute (many more videos at fuafuacapybara's YouTube channel).
posted by Vibrissa (59 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
There is a woman here in austin that owns or owned (I don't know the life span of a capybara) a capybara named Caplin Rouge and she takes him around on a leash and when interested parties asks questions she hands out fact cards for the inquiring mind. It's quirky and kind of cool. He has a myspace.
posted by djduckie at 11:51 AM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love these guys. Whenever I go to the zoo, I know I have to start with the various monkeys that shriek and holler just inside the entrance, but all the time, I’m waiting to run over to the hidden-away corner next to the otters (next to the otters, for crying out loud!) where I can gawp at rodents the size of pigs.
posted by him at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"capybara are considered fish by the Vatican"

Reason enough to consider organized religion as being the MOST foolish incarnation of mans imagination...
posted by tomswift at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


At least in the 90s, you could see capybara at the Shanghai zoo, pent up in a rather horrible concrete enclosure with a sort of moat. I had never seen any before and had no idea what they were; as we approached they all jumped into the water and swam up to the railings of the enclosure. In retrospect, I realize that this is because they hoped we would feed them snacks; at the time, I honestly thought it was because they were some kind of swarming animal and were hoping to get over the barrier and eat us. I was very disappointed in what I took to be their ferocity, because they were so cute.
posted by Frowner at 11:58 AM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The capybara came up during the "Spelling Bee for Cheaters". The example sentence did not help much.
posted by GuyZero at 12:00 PM on April 27, 2011


There's currently a baby capybara in the San Diego Zoo.
posted by LionIndex at 12:02 PM on April 27, 2011


There was one born at the San Diego Zoo last month.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:02 PM on April 27, 2011


Heh
posted by Burhanistan at 12:02 PM on April 27, 2011


Like muskrats, capybara are considered fish by the Vatican for the purpose of determining what can be eaten during Lent

Neither of these animals seem to be the sort most people would eat in the first place. Lent or no lent.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is particularly popular in Venezuela, where more than 400 tons are sold every year, especially during Easter festivities."

Wow I couldn't have been more wrong. Carry on.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2011


I was gonna do a reply post about World Tapir Day but it turned out to be a double!
posted by Mngo at 12:05 PM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Popular in side shows as "See the world's largest rat!"...I shan't soon forget my disappointment at being conned out of a quarter, and my vocal protest: "Hey, that's no rat, that's a capybara!"
posted by bonefish at 12:08 PM on April 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Related: Capybara games, makers of the Sword and Sworcery ios game. which has the cutest logo ever.
posted by hellojed at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2011


Famous Disney storyboard artist had one as a pet and wrote a children's book about it.

Coincidentally, the Texas woman that djduckie mentioned has left a review.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:21 PM on April 27, 2011


My wife just returned from Bolivia, where she went to see birds (and she saw lots of birds) but she also mentioned seeing several capybara. The first was dead and destined to become dinner for a local family, and she was told that they had chased it down and killed it with knives (!). One of the others charged at her and her guide, but then thought better of tangling with humans.
posted by localroger at 12:22 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw some capybara the day before yesterday, as it happens, at my local zoo. They were sharing an enclosure with a tapir. Two oddities for the price of one. And my son took a photo of the tapir's ass. Chip off the old block, that boy.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey now, isn't everyone forgetting that today is Official World Tapir Day?
posted by PepperMax at 12:29 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't have a dog.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2011


Unfortunately Caplin Rous passed away earlier this year. For the one nanosecond that I had a facebook account, I friended him & even got an email from him! (Okay, maybe his human typed it.)
posted by PepperMax at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here in Madison, at the free Henry Vilas Zoo, we make the ROUS joke every time we see the Capybara, so I appreciate the post title in many ways.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2011


Caplin Rous, the Austin-based capybara, died unexpectedly late last year. His owner has a new capy, Garibaldi Rous. Their owner has a website where the capy "blogs", which is cute and unnerving.

I met Caplin at the pet supply store last winter, not long before he died, on his way to take pictures with Santa. He was remarkably tolerant of all the strangers who wanted to stroke him and talk to him, and even the dogs that wanted to sniff him. He was also a lot bigger than I expected.
posted by immlass at 12:34 PM on April 27, 2011


Capybaras look like Alfred Hitchcock to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:46 PM on April 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here in Madison, at the free Henry Vilas Zoo, we make the ROUS joke every time we see the Capybara...

Me, too! That, or I start reciting the poem linked in the post ("Accept that you have foolishly distributed your eyes, ears, and nostrils all over your face").
posted by Vibrissa at 12:51 PM on April 27, 2011


Just came here to say how much I love Capybaras. Anyone in the bay area up for an SF zoo visit?
posted by MillMan at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


More capybara poetry: The Wild Ones, by James Fenton:

Here come the capybaras on their bikes.
They swerve into the friendly, leafy square
Knocking the angwantibos off their trikes,
Giving the old-age coypus a bad scare.
They specialise in nasty, lightning strikes.
They leave the banks and grocers' shops quite bare,
Then swagger through the bardoors for a shot
Of anything the barman hasn't got.

They spoil the friendly rodent rodeos
By rustling the grazing flocks of mice.
They wear enormous jackboots on their toes.
Insulted by a comment, in a trice
They whip their switchblades out beneath your nose.
Their favourite food is elephant and rice.
Their personal appearance is revolting
Their fur is never brushed and always moulting.

And in the evening when the sun goes down
They take the comely women on their backs
And ride for several furlongs out of town
Along the muddy roads and mountain tracks
Wearing a grim and terrifying frown.
Months later all the females have attacks
And call the coypu doctors to their beds.
What's born has dreadful capybara heads.

posted by verstegan at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't mind me, I'll just be over here huddling in a corner in terror.
posted by sotonohito at 1:26 PM on April 27, 2011


I distinctly remember Capybara featuring in a vignette in at least one version of Swiss Family Robinson.
posted by The Confessor at 1:36 PM on April 27, 2011


My only problem is I keep confusing the capybara with this
posted by fallingbadgers at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


They also apparently make excellent superhero sidekicks.
posted by elizardbits at 1:56 PM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Me too, fallingbadgers, but it's pretty easy to figure out which one is which after that first sip.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:57 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was talking to a friend who visited the Esteros de Ibera wetlands in Argentina last week and based solely on his description of seeing cabybaras walking along with little birds on their backs, made the decision to head up there myself. Capybaras here I come!
posted by jontyjago at 2:00 PM on April 27, 2011


Capybara? Pfft. Mara.
posted by persona at 2:07 PM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was lucky enough to see a flock? herd? murder? of capybara when I was in the Amazon. The biggest rodent in the world - pretty cute. The biggest baby rodent in the world? Way cuter.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:13 PM on April 27, 2011


> Anyone in the bay area up for an SF zoo visit?

That sounds like a great idea.
posted by Quietgal at 2:16 PM on April 27, 2011


He was also a lot bigger than I expected.

I believe Rous is actually an acronym (or possibly a backronym) for Rodents Of Unusual Size.
posted by tommasz at 2:19 PM on April 27, 2011


Capivaras are everywhere around Brasília. Here's a video of one swimming at the national congress.
posted by Joe Chip at 2:24 PM on April 27, 2011


Yeah yeah yeah. All this love for Capybaras, what about the Marmot?
posted by marxchivist at 2:31 PM on April 27, 2011


More capybara poetry:

Capybara, the master of grasses!
From the rear, looks a lot like Manassas.


Still googling for author info.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 2:36 PM on April 27, 2011


I wants to eat it.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:43 PM on April 27, 2011


Wow, capys are Cuter than I remembered. Chinchillas are still better, though.
posted by Brainy at 2:46 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like that "capoeria" and "capybara" rhyme. I feel like I should make a character around the concept.
posted by quin at 2:56 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you are trading large rodents then I can offer this video of a tepescuintle. If it looks a little more wary than a capybara that may be because it tastes delicious (description and recipe)
posted by rongorongo at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2011


I like that "capoeria" and "capybara" rhyme.
Looks like you're not the first to link them.
posted by rongorongo at 3:00 PM on April 27, 2011


Here's another song
posted by Hoopo at 3:03 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kung Fu Panda 3: meeting the Capoeira Capybara
posted by daisystomper at 3:52 PM on April 27, 2011


I LOVE LOVE LOVE capybaras! The one I've met rolled over like a dog wanting to be pet and its fur was so comforting, nothing rodent-like about it at all.
posted by Papagayo at 4:14 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


How well I remember the scene in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane where Bette Davis serves Joan Crawford a capybara for lunch. *shivers*
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2011


Popular in side shows as "See the world's largest rat!"...I shan't soon forget my disappointment at being conned out of a quarter, and my vocal protest: "Hey, that's no rat, that's a capybara!"

Ah, perhaps at Coney Island?
posted by Tube at 4:46 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a capy that lives up in Seattle, and I got to meet him. It was awesome. His mommy is a biologist. (Thanks again, Stacy!)

ANYWAY: I was telling a friend at work about that the day after.

Me: I got to meet a capybara the other day!
Her: What's that?
Me: It's the world's largest rodent!
Her: EWW.
Me: No, they're really cute! Look at them! [googles]
Her: AWW.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:56 PM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


WAY TO GO, SPEAK!
This message brought to you by that part of my brain that still lives in the early 90s.
posted by JHarris at 4:59 PM on April 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Caplin Rous' owner told me that patting a capybara is like petting a coconut. She was right, they're very bristly. Both Garibaldi Caplin Rous and Dobbye Winnick (the one in Seattle mentioned above) have FaceBook pages. Garibaldi Caplin Rous can be found at gianthamster dot com and there are a ton of YT videos of Caplin.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:50 PM on April 27, 2011


djduckie: "There is a woman here in austin that owns or owned (I don't know the life span of a capybara) a capybara named Caplin Rouge and she takes him around on a leash and when interested parties asks questions she hands out fact cards for the inquiring mind. It's quirky and kind of cool. He has a myspace"

He got uppity and chased after her, biting her and taking out a chunk of flesh. He was quickly neutered.

They're basically giant guinea pigs, but unlike guinea pigs they're (a) huge and (b) haven't had biting bred out of them over 6000 years.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2011


My fiance's seen them while running in the Dallas area. Apparently, people get them when they're little and oh-so-adorable not realizing how big they'll become, then later release them near the lakes.
posted by Neekee at 6:17 PM on April 27, 2011


My zoo has capybaras! They kinda hang out and munch grass most of the time and seem to like to people-watch. We also call them the ROUSes when we visit their enclosure. :)

I've loved them ever since I read "Wump World" when I was in first grade! Well, ever since I found out Wumps were basically capybaras shortly after reading it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:24 PM on April 27, 2011


There used to be a capybara at the Philadelphia Zoo, but last time I was there was at least 10 years ago. Anyone know whether there's still one resident there?
posted by maniabug at 8:06 PM on April 27, 2011



"Capabara, Capybara, I don't know. But his name, hoohey, cos that is his name."


Open Season 3 end credits.


Yeah, its Jorge, I know..
posted by lundman at 10:42 PM on April 27, 2011


Here's another song.

Hoopo, that song is amazing. Lyrics, if anyone else is interested.
posted by Vibrissa at 3:44 AM on April 28, 2011


> Anyone in the bay area up for an SF zoo visit?

Thirding SF Zoo visit! Also, not only did Bill Peet write books about Capybaras, he owned one as a child, as I discovered while reading his Autobiography. Capybaras can also be adorable buddies with my favorite strange pet, the guinea pig.
posted by ruhroh at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2011


There are capybara at the High Park Zoo in Toronto! They definitely straddle the cute/horrifying line for me, especially in person.
posted by kate blank at 2:16 PM on April 28, 2011


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