Skipper and Water

Melanie’s post:

Capybara family in Venezuela

Mudskipper has had a strange relationship with water, especially considering that she is a semi-aquatic rodent with a semi-aquatic name. In fact, capybaras should love water from the day they are born. From the photo above, you can see that, in the wild, even tiny newborn capybaras go swimming in caiman infested waters. Not to mention anacondas. So how about Mudskipper?

First experience with water

When Mudskipper was a little, bitty capybara, she had a rubber bowl of water. This was her first experience, and it was okay. The water in her bowl was only about an inch deep because it was really her poop bowl. She was good about going in it to fulfill her bodily functions.

What’s this?

Soon it was time for a bigger experience. Since she was not easy to catch, I brought a child’s wading pool into the house, put in a small amount of water and waited for the little capy to jump in and have the time of her life!

This did not happen. She refused to get in.

I put her in, she jumped right out. No. Not going to stay in that water. I kept trying but it was hopeless. Time to move on.

Testing the water

When she was about six weeks old, I was able to take her outside to look at the pond. Interesting, eh? Want to go in?

Thinking about it

Look! Her front paws are in the water! She was in and out before you could say “good girl!”


She finally went swimming when she was two months old. Ah, and those were the days when I could get her harness on her.

In these last two photos, she is in the “old pond,” the pond that Caplin and Garibaldi swam in. It’s seen better days.

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This is a video of baby Caplin

Do you remember that I used to have a swimming pool?

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Here’s a video of Garibaldi in the pool

So, you can see that the pool was quite an enjoyable aquatic experience for both Caplin and Gari. Not so for Skipper.


Thinking about it

There was one time when I had hope that Skipper would take the plunge. She didn’t.

In the pool!

So how did I get that photo? She was getting pretty big by this time, five months old, but not too big for me to pick her up and shove her in there. It was the first and last time she went in.

So I gave up. But it hurt. One of the most wonderful things about having a capybara is swimming with him/her. If you watched those two videos, you’ll know why. They are amazing animals on land, but in the water is where they shine. That’s where their true personality and playfulness comes out and they are even more adorable than usual.

And yet, no swimming with Mudskipper. The murky pond is just not an option for a human. Not to mention the snapping turtle is in there somewhere.

But the old pond was too small if that was going to be her only swimming option. Y’all may recall my previous post, Pondering, where I discuss my efforts to build a new, larger pond. She’s been swimming in that with no problem. That’s when I decided that her problem is that she doesn’t like water that is above ground level! That’s why she wouldn’t use the pool! That’s why she’ll go in the pond! Now all I have to do is get an inground pool for the two of us to swim in!

Wait, an inground pool? Isn’t that expense? Aren’t you disabled and with limited income? Yes, and yes. I’m doing it anyway. But I’m getting a really cheap pool especially designed for capybara-human interaction.

Mudskipper’s pool

See, it’s kind of weird. If I ever expected to sell this house, a pool like this might be a problem. But I’m not, so I don’t care. Four feet is just the right depth for a capybara to stand on her hind legs with just the top of her head above the water. She can swim underwater in it, too. And the pool is long so she can get up some speed. The little L thing has a shelf in it so she can chill half in and half out of the water.

She’s going to love it! Or I’m going to hate her. But no, I’m confident she’ll love it. And then we can swim together!

They are starting on it next week and it should be done in just a couple of weeks. It will still be too cold for me to swim, so she’ll have it to herself for awhile.

So exciting!


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