The Eyes Have It

The eye of Caplin Rous

The above photo is probably the most famous photo of any capybara’s eye, mainly because there are not really any famous photos of capybara eyes. I’d like to change that. Clearly, Caplin Rous had the prettiest eyes ever but all capybaras have lovely, cool, interesting eyes.

My eyes do not protrude

I started thinking about eyes after watching that Wild Venezuela: The Capybara video. I got upset when they said we capybaras have “protruding eyes.” That is just not true! You can see in the photo above that my eyes do not protrude. Do I look like a frog to you? I don’t think so.

But there’s more that’s great about our eyes than just that they don’t protrude. Our eyes are not just beautiful, they are also specially adapted for our life in the open flood plains of South America.

1/3 closed (rear)

It’s bright out in the llanos and a capybara can’t usually find any decent shade. So our eyes have adapted to close in thirds. We can close just the back third as Caplin Rous is doing in the above photo.

Front 1/3 closed

Or we can close just the front 1/3. Okay, I admit that in the photo above I am kind of squinting in the back but you can still see how different my eye looks in this photo than Caplin’s eye looks in the previous photo.

1/3 open, 2/3rds closed

In the photo above I am underwater but you can see that both the front and the back thirds of my eye are closed with only the middle third open. I’ll bet you can’t do that. (Unless you are a capybara, in which case I am not betting.)

Completely closed

I go into a kind of trance when Bakersfield is around, as you can see from the photo above. That little rat makes me so happy. My fur puffs up all over and I roll onto my side and close my eyes. You can see that when my eyes are completely closed, they just look like a long, black line.

If you look back at the photos, you might also notice that we have wonderfully long, dark lashes. But did you see that they are only on the middle third of our eye?

Every part of a capybara is cute but I think maybe our eyes are our cutest feature.

6 comments to The Eyes Have It

  • Kerry Anne Kay

    I’m so glad to see you and Bakersfield are getting along well. I can see that he like you too. Rats know what they like and they will let the word know. So, he likes you. I didn’t know that about Capy’s eyes. That’s so cool. I want to tell you that your front on picture is so cool! I just want to kiss that nose of yours. You’re features are perfect. You are one of God’s creates…perfection to the max!

  • Mischievous Capybara

    I love their eyes. They are so expressive. I’m glad you have written about Capy eyes. When I fell in love with Capybaras 32 years ago it was the eyes that captivated me. I have tried to find the right adjectives to describe them and came up with the following: (It is still a work in progress),
    Beguilingly malevolent look; with a hint of a smile. Malevolent with a positive rather than a negative connotation. Mischievous. Sometimes a tiny bit fed up, or mildly annoyed. Willful and calculating in a positive, humourous way. Defiant , Resigned, supercilious. Sometimes soft and kind and warm and friendly. Worried and alert. Relaxed. In Pool Kisses when Melanie kisses Caplin, he closes his eyes (I like to think blissfully). But utterly, utterly captivating.
    I’m sorry this is so long but I absolutely adore Capybara’s eyes

  • Mischievous Capybara

    and Sad Eyes (in Eeping for My Owner)

  • Kate

    hello :-) this is so interesting, I didn’t know that capybara has long eyelashes on the upper eyelid. Thank you for your photos!
    My best wishes

  • Jennah

    Completely capyvating! All I knew about capy eyes was “Your eyes shed no tears” from the hastily penned, charming and informative “Caplin Rous” song (“…Under water you can last/ Five minutes, maybe more…”).

    But those eyelashes! The magical ability to close eyes by thirds! How I lived without knowing this, I do not know! Fond regards to Super Gari, co-pets and human family!

  • ana termignoni

    I am south american but almost everything i know about capivaras i’ve learned reading this blog. thank you so much! i’ts amazing to see that they have so many fans around the world. they certainly deserve it.
    oh, and i’d love to see a video of how well Gari and Bakersfield get along.
    best regards!

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