When capybaras bite

Lots of people ask me if capybaras have big teeth. We do. We have big, dangerous teeth. Another thing people ask about is if I bite. Sadly, I have bitten. I wrote about it on my blog when it first happened. That was on my MySpace blog and I feel that it is important to let people know about it so I’m going to repost it here now. Please don’t judge me too harshly.

My teeth

My teeth

April 5, 2008

Well, I don’t like to admit it but I’ve been a bad capybara. I don’t mean a little bad, like chewing on cords bad. I mean really bad. Since I’m keeping this blog to help others understand what it’s like to live with a capybara, a feel I have to be honest about it, keep you informed, let you draw your own conclusions. So here goes.

As you may know, I attacked my owner and bit her a couple of months ago. You can read my blog about that. It’s part of the reason she decided to neuter me. After the initial biting incident, I tried really hard to be a good capybara and most of the time I succeeded. There were times though when I wasn’t so good. Mostly at night, if my owner came out in the hall to change the water in my poop bowl. Sometimes I’d get all upset and click at her. She took to carrying a pillow around and she’d push it at me and say “No Caplin!” Sometimes I bit the pillow.

After my surgery I was really sick for a while. My owner slept on the floor with me. She hand fed me. She gave me special treats and made me as comfortable as possible. I didn’t click at her at all then, no matter the time of day or night or whatever she was doing.

On Tuesday, my owner and Sheldon took me to my favorite fourth grade class. The kids and I had a great time. I rolled on the floor and they rubbed my belly. They fed me my favorite rye grass. I was the perfect capybara. And then I went to my job as company mascot, where I was also very good. After work, my owner took me to PetsMart where I was a big hit, as always, and very well-behaved if I do say so myself.

Wednesday when my owner got home from work we spent some quality time together. She took me swimming in the pool and I played with my pool toy. Then I went for a graze while she did some stuff around the yard. That’s when things went bad. I don’t know what came over me. I saw my owner filling up my little pool and I raced across the yard to her. I don’t know what I was thinking! When I got to her, I stood up on my hind legs and put my front legs on her back. I never did that before and I’m not sure why I did it then. When she tried to turn around–this is where the really bad stuff happens–I lunged at her and tried to bite her! Oh my gosh! I don’t know why I did that.

My owner kicked me in the head to keep me from biting her. That just made me mad. I circled her, clicking and huffing and looking for an opening. Then I lunged at her again! And she kicked me again. I was enraged! I lunged again, and even though she kicked me, I got past her defenses and I bit her hard on her thigh. She was wearing jeans but I bit right through them and I took out a chunk of flesh the size of a quarter. My owner fell down when her kick didn’t connect with me all the way. She was kicking as hard as she could and wearing boots but…

Anyway, she got up and ran into the house. I followed her and stood outside the glass door huffing and clicking and daring her to come back outside. Eventually she did but now she was carrying this yellow thing that looked like a small tennis racket. She hit me on the nose with it and it sent a spark through the air and bit my nose. I backed off but I was madder than ever. She hit me a bunch of times and finally I backed off enough for her to do what she needed to do. Then she went back in the house and wouldn’t let me in.

After a while Rick came home. I was happy to see him and didn’t feel like huffing or clicking or biting him at all. But when I saw my owner, I went back to my bad behavior. So she started carrying that yellow thing all the time and hitting me with it if I clicked at her. This just made me click even more. I’m not sure why, but I really wanted to bite her.

The next day was the same, every time I saw my owner, I just wanted to attack. But when she left, I wanted to be with her. I’m so confused. She locked me out of the kitchen-family room area and wouldn’t come in where I was. Then she sat next to one of the gates and fed me treats over the top or through the slats. That made me happy. That night, Rick and my owner let me sleep in the bed with them for a couple of hours and we were all happy again. But in the morning, the madness came over me and I clicked and huffed at her.

That’s pretty much where we are now. I’m fine around Rick and Sheldon. I don’t feel like biting them at all. And most of the time I don’t feel like biting my owner either. But sometimes I do and I just can’t control myself. I’m hoping this is what my owner called “teen angst” and I’ll grow out of it. Or maybe my hormones are all messed up from the neutering. Or maybe it’s because it’s spring. I don’t know. I hope it passes quickly though. I don’t like being separated from my owner. I don’t like her being afraid of me. I want her to scratch me and feed me treats and hold me on her lap–all of  which she still does, only now she carries that yellow thing and she acts afraid.


Me on April 10, 2008

Me on April 10, 2008

This is my next blog, which was an update to my biting situation.

April 10, 2008

This has been a hard week for me and my owner. The bite on my owner’s leg still hurts her and she still has to keep it bandaged. And I have been dealing with my own issues with clicking, huffing and circling. I wanted everyone to know that I am getting my emotions under control though.

The past few days I haven’t been feeling like attacking my owner as long as she is sitting down. She’s been plying me with extra treats, which helps, and carrying the yellow snappy thing when she moves around. When I see that thing it makes me mad but I’m afraid of it so I back off. She hasn’t hit me with it in a while so I kind of wonder if it is broken….hopefully I won’t find out.

This morning I was almost my old self. I let my owner walk around freely and didn’t click at her at all. She even picked me up without any incident on either side. And she weighed me. It is my 9-month birthday (3/4 of one year! Yeah!) and I weigh 60.3 lbs. I think it’s all those extra treats.

34 comments to When capybaras bite

  • Now that is scary. Caplin, you are a big boy and you could do even more damage to your owner than you did. She is very brave and determined to work with you through that phase. We hope you haven’t done that since.

  • Wow Caplin.
    You is a wild animals so Iz sure that your owner understood that could happen. Iz don’t think you should have done it, but Iz know that sometimes Iz even get a temper. Although Iz can’t compare myself to you. It’s good that your owner still loves you and didn’t decide to leave you, because all you needed was to be taught who was boss. Of course we totally own or hoomans and everything, but you know what Iz mean. Bolz!

    Iz hope you learned a bit from your mistakes and it’s not completely your fault, it’s most likely in your nature.


  • Francine Rossi

    It’s hard being a wild animal living with humans. My Jed is a grey parrot, captive bred, but hey! Parrots are wild things, and I have the scars to prove it! He loves me, but I am always careful around him, and make sure that I don’t do things that are alarming to parrots.

    I remember my guinea pigs nipping me with their razor sharp teeth, I can imagine the crunch of a Caplin!

  • o the rodent teeth…even my tiny bunny gouda at 3.5 lbs will occasionally nip me and draw blood.

  • bunbun

    @yeon: aw just be gentle to ur bunny, my bunny never bites! i think it’s bc i never hurt her, she is very sensitive when she bites me accidentally for treats, she tries really hard not to do it by accident ever again! so sweet.

    @caplin: i feel sorry for the unfortunate incident. i wonder, if this is capybara mating behaviour? I’m sure he loves u very much. bunnies exibit mating behaviour, too, especially when not neutered. that is good u found a vet that could treat caplin!
    also he might be a little bit “wild”, although, i really think he’s just doing the “aggressive male” thing for mating. and with his size… it came off more dangerous than it should :T

  • I am a big fan of capybaras and I visited most zoos here in Japan to meet them.
    Capybaras never bite !! Small children are playing with them !!
    I don’t know whether you can touch them in zoos of other countries, but if you have
    the chance please come and meet with them. Here is a list of zoos where you can see capybaras in Japan (from north to south): *at some places you can even touch them !

    1. Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa (Hokkaido) *can not be seen in winter since temperature is
    sometimes below -25C !!

    2. Akita Ohmori Zoo, (Akita Prefecture)

    3. Ueno Zoo, Tokyo Metropolitan Area (Tokyo Prefecture) *inside of Ueno Park

    4. Tobu Zoo, (Saitama Prefecture)

    5. Saitama Children’s Zoo, (Saitama Prefecture) *even though there is a small fence, you can touch the capybaras !!

    6. Chiba Zoo, (Chiba Prefecture)

    7. Ichihara Zou-No-Kuni(=elephant’s country), (Chiba Prefecture) *You can touch them, give them something to eat; they will eat from your hand ! very cute !

    8. Ichikawa Zoological and Botanical Gardens, (Chiba Prefecture)

    9. Nasu Safari Park , (Tochigi Prefecture) *You can see wild animals from your car or from a bus; capybaras are on distance

    10. Nasu Doubutsu Oukoku(=Animal Kingdom), (Tochigi Prefecture)

    11. Kusatsu Nettaiken (=Tropical Region), (Gunma Prefecture, close to Niigata Prefecture)
    * You can touch capybaras here and play with them !

    12. Izu Biopark, (Shizuoka Prefecture) *This is like a safari and there is a place where you can touch capybaras who live together with ducks and rabbits for a charge of a few dollars !!

    13. ….. ….. ….. …..

    the list would just become too long……….

    But there are at least another 22 zoos in Japan where you can see and touch capybaras !!

  • kapibara-san

    are you a female capybara or male?? are males more aggressive????????

  • Kristen Such

    I have always wanted a pet capybara of my own, but after reading this article I’m still determined to buy one. Although capybaras are wild animals that can go through through phases such as these,I know that deep down your a great companion that is simply going through a hard time. I hope in the future you’ll treet your mommy with more respect, but just the same, it’s not completly your fault. I hope you get through this difficult time.
    Your capybara fantic,
    Kristen Such

  • SR

    White folks are we crazy, get rid of that rodent and move on. You gotta be kidding me. Right.

  • G

    @bunbun – sounds exactly like mating behavior. April-May, male mounts female while she is near water, bites legs:

    @SR – totally agree

  • jennifer

    Sometimes just because an animal is “cute” doesn’t mean we should keep it from its natural habitat…no matter how good a life you give it.

  • Caplin

    Oh mommy, I’m sorry I bit you but you really should have bought a dog instead! Dogs are bred to live with humans. But I do understand … you have some screws loose!

  • Toni

    Who would really want a wild rodent as a family member. Remember wild is wild and there is no taming it. Let these creatures be themselves, then as soon as something tragic happens then everyone wants to blame the creature and euthanize them. Let them live in their natural habitat. (only humans want to tame everything)

  • Kristen

    Maybe you need a friend Caplin? I admit, I do not know much about caring for Capybaras (I just discovered your wonderful website). But since your species lives in groups in the wild, you’re stressed because you can’t keep in contact with your own kind? Maybe talking to creatures of the same species would help you relax. My pets who are naturally social are much happier with a friend than alone. (Approved 2010/04/25)

  • ratfancy

    I think you both handled the biting episode very well – and creatively. We all have our moods, but not necessarily the big teeth! (Approved 2010/04/25)

  • Hi
    Why does the Roman Catholic Church categorize the capybaras as a fish even now?
    (Approved: 2010/08/04)
    It is hard to change your mind when you are always right.

  • Joey the Guinea Pig

    OK, Caplin, it happens. I did the same thing when I was separated from my owner for 2 weeks. She came back to pick me up from where I was temporarily staying, and ZAP! I nailed her innocent finger which was only trying to give me a love pat. I didn’t draw blood, but who knows, I wasn’t trying for gentleness! I was just being me … but it was a different me for a moment. Sure we have “wild” instincts, but we don’t do this to the humans outside our private circle; we do it to those closest to us. I think it’s a form of irritability combined with some sort of hormonal thing. We reserve it for those we know best, thinking it’s THEM who understand us best (when in actuality, not even WE understand!). Anyway, love your page. — Joey
    (Approved: 2010/09/14)

  • holly

    Ok so any rodent can bite even a pet mouse can pack a nasty punch. I am trying to figure out if I should get a Patagonian cavy or a Capy. I read the pats hardly if ever bite both are one if the few exotics allowed in my state. I think a pat is the answer don’t like getting bit lol

  • my kids really like to play with those assorted pool toys, they specially like pokemon pool toys and stuff like that :;`

  • Jeff

    We love our family members for all their good points and bad. The connection is priceless and the learning curve can hurt. But during it all, love, caring and understanding win out.

  • sarah

    I dont like reading but this is interesting and cute, good for you owner!=)

  • sarah

    By the way i kind of know how you feel, once my guinea pig bit an area twoard my neck. it was scary and i can’t imagine if his teeth were as big as caplin’s.

  • pablo

    this article is ridiculous lol everything you “say” the capybara felt in the story is nonsense… it thinks none of that, in the end of the day it a rodent and it attacks you cuz its nothing but a rodent just feeding and doing what it needs… keep thinking it felt bad for biting you, that thing will bite and bite and your gonna keep hitting it which is abusive imo, if your gonna have a rodent in your house that big, don’t hit it for biting you, hit yourself for being a fool

  • Autumn

    To all those people who are against Capybara pet keeping….. Dogs too were once wild, so were cats, rabbits etc. it has to start somewhere, the domestication and all, and I’d rather have this animals domesticated and a few kept as pets before they die out in the wild sadly 🙁 I’m just here to keep animals alive even if they would have better lives in the wild, they’d still have a better life Alive rather than Extinct from hunting and deforestization.

  • thats so cute but sad

  • […] went through a phase where he was very aggressive toward me. This is documented in this blog post, When Capybaras Bite. Caplin and I slowly worked through this, generally by me backing down and being as non-aggressive […]

  • Suzann

    This is very sick! The animal bit you because that is what it does.. it is a wild animal and should not be in a home with anyone let alone someone so desperate for attention! This reminds me of the TV series “when animals attack ” I feel sorry for these poor creatures! This should be illegal. .

  • Patrick A.

    Giving a shout out to the all the people hating on the thread. Just wanted to make sure that your aware that capy’s are raised domestically all over the world. They are farmed extensively for there pelts, and the pharmacutical industry raises them for fillers/bases for there products. In several countries it is common practice to eat farmed capy’s during lent, and other countrys rely on it as a signifigant protien source. This isn’t a case of someone going into the wild and bringing it home, these are animals who have been raised as livestock for many generations and have a long pedigree around humans. The only exception being this guy is being raised indoors as opposed to a barn like the countless generations before him. The same people who are calling for this animal to be calssified as illegal are probably the same who haven’t read a book in several years, counts her telivision as a learning tool, and would ban asprin if they could. People have freedoms and projecting your creepy micro-managing behavior onto them because of your lack of worldly knowledge is disgusting and scary Suzann, to say the least.

  • Natasha Williams

    Hi there, I understand Capy’s are cute and can be affectionate. And I also understand that they can be little buggers too. Just like any animal you try to domesticate. For the everyone who says ban them, or get rid!! You should understand that your dog or your cat is a domesticated wild animal~!! Most animals get moody when its mating season. I mean I have a 9 stone Alaskan malamute and when my bitch is in season he would plow threw anything to get to her its hormones. Bless the cappy who bit he wouldn’t have understood whats going on he was only a baby then and most likely his first breeding season, Just because an animal attacks you doesn’t mean you give up either!! how many people have had a pet hamster that’s bit you??? Did you just give it away or did you keep trying?? If you gave it away then really you shouldn’t get a pet full stop beacause unfortunately even domestic animals are unpredictable. And if you say to your self well I haven’t signed up for this then fine all your pets decent homes and just buy a gold fish !!

    I love the Capybara they are such a sweet looking creature I was wondering Cappie if you could answer a couple of questions I have? I have 2 big dogs and a cat and some chinchillas me and my partner are currently in the middle of moving to the lake district ( 2 achers) is this enough land for a capybara to run about in? And is it better to have a 2 capybaras so they have company or are they okay on there own ?

    Also what age should you get one? I have had a look online and a lady ended up buying one too young and it sadly became very poorly as a result of it.


  • Graham

    We have a male that for some unknown reason to me, while clenning his enclosure, attack me giving me a number of deep bites that are only now healing up although the area surounding the bites are still very brused.

    Would getting a female stop the attacks every time I go into his enclosure to clean it? At the moment my wife hasn’t been attacked

  • bruce jackson

    I noticed all these posts are 5 yrs old , this site still active , I,m new and want to learn more about capy,s….I,m in California and havnt been able to find one

  • nadia

    damn:.. thats crazy…

  • Lover of Capybaras

    Hey Caplain! I am also a lover of capybaras and I know it’s not your fault for biting them. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind you biting me some time.

  • Daniel

    Wow I love this little guy he is so darn cute. And just look at that drip. It goes so hard like 2008 Whoop WHoop

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