DOG and cat lovers are so devoted to their favoured species that it’s been a long-running debate about which is the better pet, and each side makes its feelings known far and wide.
Even people with less common pets like lizards or ferrets are mostly understood for their fanatic ways, but that’s not as unusual as it gets. But would you own a pet skunk, donkey or cockroach? Believe it or not, there are many people who do call these unconventional creatures their pets. One of the rarest creatures kept by people as pets as the Capybara.
Related to the guinea pig, this native South American is the largest rodent in the world. Fully grown, the capybara is on average 4 feet (1.2 meters) long and usually weighs more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms). It’s rare to find these obscure animals as pets, but there’s one capybara named Caplin Rous who’s gained a loyal Internet following. His owner, Melanie Typaldos, who lives in Buda, Texas, has made it her mission to educate people about this very unusual rodent.
Typaldos says capybaras are never fully domesticated, so you must handle one often while it’s young to establish a human-rodent relationship. Capybaras need lots of outdoor space and places to swim, since they are semi-aquatic creatures. They eat a steady diet of grass and require fresh drinking water at all times.
Capybaras need a lot of attention, plenty of room to roam and some type of swimming pool. They can be territorial and could bite with their large teeth. Typaldos doesn’t recommend capybaras for families with young children, because the rodents aren’t nearly as tolerant as some other domestic pets, like dogs.