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Prehistoric Giant Rodents

Humans are always so gung-ho about their prehistoric ancestors. Did they origniate in Africa? When did the walk on two legs? When did they get agriculture? Well all that is boring by comparison to my giant rodent ancestors! I found this great post about them on a blog call The World We Don’t Live In. The whole blog is really great for the science-minded (and if a capybara can be science-minded which of you humans cannot?), so read the whole thing. But the best post is the one on my giant ancestors.

Me & My Owner Immortalized

Us with painting by Grace Warrington

Us with painting by Grace Warrington

If a picture paints a 1000 words then a painting is worth a million words. Or something like that. Anyway, the painting that Grace Warrington did of me and my owner is worth at least a million words. More like a million dollars. More like priceless. Look what a great job she did of catching us in a candid moment. It’s so funny how we both have our eyes all squinty-shut! And you can see, Grace caught my owner’s big teeth perfectly while just hinting at mine. I love that subtle comparison.

I kissed a painting of my owner!

I kissed a painting of my owner!

My owner first showed me the painting while I was getting ready for the Halloween Costume Contest which is why I have a green stripe in the photo above. More to the point is that it was so lifelike that I just had to kiss the image of my owner in the painting. That was funny because the me in the painting is kissing the other side of her face.  Just shows how much I love my owner.

Grace Warrington working on our portrait

Grace Warrington working on our portrait

This is an image that Grace sent us while she was working on the portrait. You can’t even imagine how excited we were when we saw this. Grace picked the image to use out of all the images we have up on the web in various locations. We didn’t even know it was going to be both of us. She picked just the right one to capture the true capybara-owner bond! (But why does my owner have to make her fingers into rabbit ears behind me? I am NOT a rabbit.)

Make sure you check out Grace’s web page. She always shows her work in progress on her page. As I am writing it she is doing a beautiful rendition of a very strikingly colored cat. She even has a whole series showing her work on our painting that you can see here. It’s amazing to see how the work progressed, especially for a capybara since we are not known for our artistic abilities.

Buffalo NY Zoo Has Three Baby Capybaras

The zoo in Buffalo NY, USA, has three new baby capybaras!We’re always cute but we’re never cuter than when we’re babies. If you live in the Buffalo area, make sure you go visit these little guys as soon as you can. Babies always grow up too fast.

Professor Rous

Me at Hill Elementary School

Me at Hill Elementary School

Not a week goes by where something exciting doesn’t happen to me. You might think it is exhausting (I believe this is my owner’s opinion), but I love it! Last week was an especially big one for me. You’ll recall that my Russian stalker, Rezoner, visited. Well, Rezoner wrote a (hopefully) nice post about our meeting. Only it’s in Russian. I have a lot of Russian-speaking fans so if one or more of you could read it and leave a comment here about whether it is nice or not, I would appreciate it. Only I’m sure it is because Rezoner loved me so why would he not write something nice?

I also got to meet a local stalker Bob Cooksey. Bob posted this video of our meeting. Check it out and leave Bob a comment. He’s only gotten two as of this writing and that video surely deserves more.

But that was last week so let’s get to the new news. This week I did two school visits.

Monday I went to the San Marcos Montessori School in San Marcos, Texas. In this visit I met about 30 students, mostly pre-school but some 1st and 2nd graders since Monday was a holiday for a lot of folks. Gosh I had a good time! The kids sat around me in a circle and were very well mannered about taking turns asking questions and petting me.  I have to say, I wish adults were always so well behaved!

The preschool has a pet guinea pig named Sugar and they brought her out to meet me. She is absolutely the cutest thing ever (next to me). After a bit of nose-sniffing, we were like best buds. That is until I stepped on her! I think guinea pigs can squeak even louder than capybaras because you should have heard the noise Sugar made! I didn’t know what was going on and my owner had to pull my paw off of Sugar. I can’t tell you how embarrassed and worried I was. But a few days later we got an email from the school and Sugar is fine. Whew!

Me with Jeff Djayasaputra

Me with Jeff Djayasaputra

Friday I went to Hill Elementary School. Outside the school I met up with my Houston stalker, Jeff Djayasaputra. You can see me with him in the photo above. I guess I could have been friendlier but I really wanted to explore my surroundings. It’s not every day that I go so far north; I wanted to see if there was any of that white stuff called “snow” up there. For better or worse, I didn’t find any.

JJeff is a graphic artist and he brought a gift for me. Look at this wonderful capybara quadrille he created!

Jeff Djayasaputra's Capybara Quadrille

Jeff Djayasaputra's Capybara Quadrille

Isn’t that great? I wish capybaras really came in all those colors.

One of the dumb things Sheldon always says is that all capybaras look alike except he can always tell a photo of me. Even so, we were surprised that looking at Jeff’s work, we could tell he didn’t model it on me. Turns out he used a photo of a Japanese capybara. I’m going to take credit for being his inspiration anyway.

Then my owner and I gave a presentation to the entire first grade. Zowie! About one hundred kids all in one room.  But the teachers, especially Jill Clark who invited us and organized the whole thing, kept the kids neatly seated in rows on the floor in front of me and they (generally) very politely raised their hands to ask or answer questions.

Me and my owner talking to kids at Hill Elementary School

Me and my owner talking to kids at Hill Elementary School

I must say, I loved those kids. They totally got my sense of humor. And they already knew a lot about capybaras and rodents in general because their teachers had been covering us that week in school. This video shows the first few minutes of the presentation.

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Jill Clark feeding me frozen blueberries

Jill Clark feeding me frozen blueberries

The kids loved seeing Ms. Clark feed me some frozen blueberries. And I thought they were going to explode when I did my “stand” trick for a piece of pear from my owner!

Is there no limit to my cuteness?

Is there no limit to my cuteness?

I left them some coloring pages and a copy of my book, Celeste and the Giant Hamster, along with a copy of Capyboppy by Bill Peet. Sure would love to see how they colored me and hear what they think of my book! Don’t forget, the winter holidays are coming up and my book makes a perfect gift!)

As I’ve often said (or, more acurrately, as I plan on saying often), being the world’s most famous capybara is a the hardest job I’ll ever love!

San Antonio Zoo Capybaras

Capybara encounter at San Antonio Zoo

Capybara encounter at San Antonio Zoo

Do you remember when I adopted a capybara at the San Antonio Zoo? Well, my owner finally got a chance to use the two free tickets and go down to meet my adopted cousins. The zoo people told us there were four capys but my owner (who was with my Russian stalker, aka Rezoner, aka Alex) only saw two.

According to the zoo people, the capys don’t have names. They don’t want to encourage people to think of zoo animals as potential pets. Well, that’s a fine how-do-you-do! And every animal deserves a name. I was thinking of Meg for the female (on the right) and Ryan for the male (on the left). Or maybe Betty and Lou.  Or Carly and Simon. But I just can’t decide. Post a comment if you have any ideas.

My owner and Rezoner picked a great day to go to the zoo. It was a Friday when most people are at work or school. And it rained buckets in the morning, discouraging even more people. My owner said they announced the total zoo attendance at the end of the day and it was only 358 people! So it was practically like having the zoo to themselves.

San Antonio Zoo Capybara Enclosure

San Antonio Zoo Capybara Enclosure

As you can tell from the photo above, the capybaras have a really nice enclosure. You can see Betty here in the front, chomping on some greens while Lou hangs out way down at the end of the pond. They even have some birds that could (theoretically) land on their backs.

Female Capybara. Carley?

Female Capybara. Carley?

They two capys are incredibly cute and you can get right to eye-level with them without a glass or anything in between, which is not true at many zoos. It’s too bad they don’t have any actual grass to graze on. That is one of my favorite activities and it is quite different from eating food that has been picked and deposited for you. But you can’t have everything.

I don’t know why, but my owner wanted me to include photos of some of the other zoo animals. This next one is one I can appreciate.

Rock Squirrel at San Antonio Zoo

Rock Squirrel at San Antonio Zoo

It is a zoo animal in that it lives in a zoo. But it is not confined to a cage. This is a cute little rock squirrel. We don’t have them at my house, possibly because we don’t have any rocks, but they are native to Texas.

Boat-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Rezoner was fascinated by these birds even the next day when we saw them at lunch. They are some of the most common birds in this area. We don’t have many of them at my house because they prefer the city. I wonder if one would sit on my back? Their South American relatives do, I think.

My owner said I do not have to be afraid of the gharial in the next photo.

Gharial or gavial at San Antonio Zoo

Gharial or gavial at San Antonio Zoo

Owner says they can only eat fish with that long, narrow snout. Still, they remind me of crocodiles and that is not good.

Rezoner apparently has a way with birds. This pied dove landed on him and wouldn’t get off until he shook it really hard.

Rezoner with an Australian Pied Dove

Rezoner with an Australian Pied Dove

Why doesn’t that happen to me?

Well, that’s about it. But it is my opinion that every blog post should end with a photo of a capybara. Here are Ryan & Meg saying goodbye at the end of the day.

San Antonio Zoo Capybaras

San Antonio Zoo Capybaras