Sharks may be better known for their feeding frenzies but that is just because people don’t know Caplin Rous!
To say Caplin has favorite foods is putting it mildly. There are some things he just goes wild for and one of those foods is the hard, crisp, green pears that some people grow here in central Texas.
Normally, Caplin is very gentle when he takes food from my hand. His little lips are soft, downy and sensitive. He lifts each blueberry with delicate ease from the tips of my fingers.
Pears are a different story. They are big enough that he has to bite into them and they are very hard. At least the ones he likes are hard. He doesn’t like the soft, juicy ones from the grocery store. I’ve feed him hundreds of pears these past two years and never had a problem…until yesterday.
I was feeding Caplin a pear as he sat on his pool table and I squatted in the warm water beside him. From that angle, I can see his huge teeth chomp into the crispy fruit and think about how those teeth are constantly chipping to keep their sharp edge. I imagine the pears are a good sharpening tool for them. And so I was watching him eat, shifting the pear in my hand so his teeth could find easier purchase when…OUCH! The tip of my thumb had accidently slid into his mouth. He didn’t actually bite down hard on it, but he did bring some pressure to bear.
The pain was immediate and tremendous. Blood spurted from the wound. I grabbed my thumb with my other hand and pressed the flesh back together as hard as I could tolerate. Caplin looked down at me with an innocent air. I shifted the pear to my fingers and let him have the last couple of bites.
My thumb throbbed as I got out of the pool. I sat on the picnic table, afraid to remove the pressure for fear that a slice of flesh might peal off. Caplin eeped. More treats? No? He got out to graze as I watched him and pondered my options.
Fact is, I don’t want to go to a doctor with a wound like that and say my capybara bit me. I’m a little paranoid. What if they think he might have rabbies? I know he doesn’t. It was a simple accident. What if he gets reported as a dangerous animal. He isn’t.
I waited 20 minutes and then went into the house. When I released the pressure, blood oozed from around the edges of the injury but, aside from the pain, it didn’t seem that bad. I tore off a strip of vet wrap that I always keep around in case of horse emergencies, and wrapped my thumb.
It’s now 24 hours later. The thumb still hurts but not nearly so much. I can even use it to type this post (only the space key of course, and mostly I use my left thumb for that). So it looks like I got off easy. I fed him another pear tonight, being extra careful.
Lesson: Never underestimate the sharpness of rodent teeth.