Meet the Parents

Coral, Carl and me on the road to Nacogdoches.

Before I start today’s blog, I have to admit that I did something bad. I knocked over the trash can in my owner’s office and ate half a sheet of paper. In a way this wasn’t really so bad because the paper was trash after all. I don’t know why my owner made such a big deal about it. She said I needed to warn my readers that if they get a capybara, they have to protect their trash. That doesn’t even make sense. And it’s not like I’m going through it looking for her financial records or anything. I was just hungry.

Now for the main story.

I know humans are obsessed with genealogy. Everyone wants to know all about their ancestors and how their heritage, genetic and cultural, influences their lives. I didn’t feel this way at all. I am more of a nurture rather than nature proponent in the whole nature-vs-nurture argument. Plus, my ancestors are all capybaras. That’s okay, I mean it’s only natural, but I’m soooo different from that. I am hardly a capybara at all. I consider myself a fusion between capybaras and humans, taking only the best of both species. I know what you’re thinking, that still makes me mostly capybara. But even a little human influence has a dramatic effect.

But on Thursday my whole family and I hopped in the car and went to visit the farm where I was born. My parents, Bonnie and Clyde, had a new litter of capy-kittens and everyone wanted to see if my baby siblings were as cute as I am. My parents and their owners live in a town called Nacogdoches, Texas. It’s a fair distance from Buda, off in the piney woods in East Texas, not far from the Louisiana border, so it’s not a trip we can make very often.

Most of the time the seat was down but sometimes I sat in the back and Carl put the seat up for a while.

The weather was beautiful with a high of nearly 90 degrees and blue skies. We took Hwy 21 up, which travels through mostly country and small towns. Our first stop was in Dime Box, Texas, about 1.5 hours from home. We wanted to go to the little museum but it was closed. I took my humans–in this case my owner, Coral and Carl, and Sheldon–for a walk around town. It’s pretty small so we saw nearly the whole place. We talked to some nice women who lived there and I let one of them pet me. She called the museum curator who came right over and opened the museum for us.

Me, Sheldon, Coral and Carl at the Dime Box water tower.

Or so I thought. Actually, she said, “Tie your dog up outside.” Humpfh! Firstly, I am not a dog. Secondly, I cannot be tied up since I can get out of my harness whenever I please. Believe me, if my humans leave me alone, I’m going to want out of that thing! The curator soon realized her mistake but didn’t seem as impressed with me as she should have been. She still wouldn’t let me in the museum. So my humans had to take turns.

In the meantime, I wandered off, dragging Carl along with me, to a field across the street. There was a drainage ditch with a little water in it that looked especially inviting. Only Carl wouldn’t let me get in. So I charged him! (Oh, don’t look so shocked. What did you expect me to do?) He managed to fend off my attacks until my owner came out by wrapping my leash around a tree. Then she let me go in the drainage ditch and everything was fine.

This is the drainage ditch. You can see why I wanted to get in it.

Our next stop was for lunch at Schlotzsky’s in College Station, right across the street from the Texas A&M campus. Coral and Carl both went to UT Austin so I think they were a little nervous. My humans all had sandwiches and I had some yogurt. Quite a few people came up to pet me, which made me feel loved.

Then it was straight through to Star Farms and my family. As I’ve said, my parents are named Bonnie and Clyde. Their owners are Rick and Abby West and they live at a place called Star Farms. You may not know it, but my parents and their humans are carnies. They have a traveling show in which my parents are billed as “Giant Rats.” I’m pretty proud of my carnie heritage. I’m a show-stopper myself so I think I’d be a natural in the family business.

The carnival setup for Bonnie and Clyde.
Not sure I approve of the giant rat trap.

I spent some time reminiscing with Rick and Abby, only I don’t remember much since I left Star Farms when I was only eleven days old. In fact, I didn’t recognize my own parents! They aren’t friendly like I am. They can’t walk on a leash or anything. Rick said he has to move each of them into a crate and then use a fork lift to get them onto their trailer when they head out on the circuit. You can see how little I have in common with them. When my owner wants to take me someplace, she puts on my leash, walks me out to the car and I jump in by myself.

Me with Abby West. I liked her.
This is Rick West with my parents, Bonnie and Clyde.

My siblings were pretty adorable. There are four of them and they don’t have names yet. They sure could squeak up a storm! And they didn’t like to be held. I think I was like that when my owner first got me. It’s their wild instincts. Hopefully they’ll get owners like mine who will teach them not to be afraid.

Me checking out on of my new siblings while Sheldon takes video and Coral holds the baby.
Two of my four new siblings. I have to admit, they are cute. But they are not cuter than I am!
Abby West feeding one of the babies. I used to drink out of a bottle just like that.

All of my humans wanted to pet and hold the babies and after a while, that started to bug me. I admit, Abby is pretty nice and I liked it when she held my leash and pet my head. But I still did not like all the attention my brothers and sisters were getting instead of me. After a while I became angry and started clicking at them, give me back my humans! We left not long after that.

In the car getting ready to go home. I have a special bed for the car.

On the way home it was mostly dark. We stopped just a couple of times, once for gas and once for dinner, which was again in College Station. I got out to graze and I ate another bowl of yogurt. Lots of people stopped to ask questions and admire me. My owner put out my water bowl and I sat in it several times. I hate going so long without a nice bath or swim. But I wouldn’t urinate or defecate in it like my owner wanted me to. In fact, I held it all day until we got home. Then I ran to the bathroom to use my normal bowl! What a relief.

You can view a video of this on my YouTube channel at

Meet the Parents

I go back to the farm where I meet my human and capybara parents and four baby siblings.

Circle of Humiliation

As you can imagine, it is difficult for a capybara to fit in with a human family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but they are sometimes quite a trial.

This week my owner decided to bring up the whole “Do a Circle” trick again. She found this a long time ago on YouTube. In that video (Minipan Circling) a girl is teaching her guinea pig, Minipan, how to do the circle trick. The circle trick is just what it sounds like, the poor, starving pet is forced to spin around in a full 360-degree circle to get some tiny morsel.

My owner decided it would be cute if I did that trick. Well, I wasn’t having any of it. I pretended I had no idea what she was talking about and just kept looking at her with my dark, featureless but pleading eyes. Eventually she gave up on the idea and we all breathed a sigh of relief, especially me.

But I’ll tell you something, she spends way too much time on YouTube. Eventually she came across this video (Zoo Capybara Circling) showing a zoo capybara in Japan that knew the circle trick! Can you believe a capybara would stoop to that? Well, zoo capybaras are desperate animals and are just dying for treats–I mean attention. That video set my owner off again.

A couple of days ago she got me in the kitchen with a popsicle, which is my current favorite food (outside of yogurt). I stood on my hind legs and begged (I know, not very dignified!). I waved. I did my tap-a-tap-a trick. Nothing happened. She wouldn’t give me the popsicle! Instead she held it over to the side of my head and kept repeating some gibberish. I looked at it with hungry eyes and reached to grab it but she moved it farther away.

Let me tell you, I’m no dummy. I knew her evil plan. But what could I do? I wanted that popsicle. So I turned a little. She moved it again. I turned some more. She moved it more. This went on and on until I was all the way back to facing her and then she finally gave me a bite. It tasted delicious. Maybe even more delicious because I had to work for it. But then again, maybe not.

She kept doing that for every single bite of the popsicle. Eventually I gave up and just did the danged turn when she waved the popsicle. It’s faster that way and I don’t have a lot of patience.

Later in the day, we had a repeat of the same stupid procedure. For every bite I had to turn a full circle. By the third popsicle, I’d given up and didn’t even pretend not to know what she was talking about.

The next day proved more of the same, only this time I had to turn clockwise rather than counter clockwise. I sadly confess that I didn’t put up much of a fight. It only took two popsicles to convince me I’d have to turn that way too if I wanted that popsicle.

So there you have it. A sad story of desperation, deprivation and humiliation. You can view the whole thing on YouTube at: Caplin Rous Circling.

Don’t hate me for what I’ve become…

A more dignified way to ask for a popsicle. Ah for the good old days.

Me forced to circle to get a bite.

Turn Around ‘Bara

Turning in a circle to get a treat.

Going for a Jog

In a hurry to get home.