Water ‘Bara

Me in the clean water of the pool.
I love floating in an innertube before I bite a hole in it.

If you know me or any of my kind, then you’ll know capybaras love the water. What you might not know is that we like our water thick, the thicker the better. Sure, I’ll swim in clean water when I have to, but mud is what I really want. Lately it’s been hard to come by.

I remember way back when I was a baby that there used to be mud everywhere. Water actually fell from the sky. It formed little pools called puddles on the ground. I made my own mud by just rolling in those puddles and using my body to mix the water with the dirt. But then the sky dried up and so did the puddles. The last ones to go were at the bottom of the little creek that runs across our property. One day I ran out there with my owner in tow, all excited about playing in the mud and it was gone! That was the last I saw of it except a few feeble puddles my owner made for me last summer.

But something good happened last week. It got really cold and windy and water fell from the sky again! I didn’t know what to think. It had been so long that when my owner let me out to graze, I just stood there in shock. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized what had happened. Sadly, the “rain” quickly dried up and I only got to play in the mud a little before it was gone. In fact, I only tracked it into the house one time. What a waste. I’m going to work on that.

Getting ready to make me some MUD!

Then last weekend my owner and Sheldon and Coral and Carl all took me out to the creek. You can imagine my surprise when I saw puddles at the bottom! I had actually forgotten all about how the creek bed stores water like a swimming pool. In this case a swimming pool with a leaky bottom made out of mud, otherwise known as capybara heaven. Let me tell you, I made some fantastic mud. I smeared it all over my body. I dug my toes into it. I rubbed it on my face. It felt great. What a delightful future I envisioned for myself with those puddles.

I have found the thing I am best at.

When my owner took me back the next day, I was stunned. The puddle had lost over half its volume. Nooooo! I tried not to think about it as I played but it was hard. The next day the puddle was gone. The life of a capybara is so hard.

Capybaras are semi-aquatic because mud is semi-aquatic.

And then it rained again! Now that took me by surprise. Does this rain thing happen very often? Why don’t I remember it from last year? Is it going to happen again soon? My puddles are back but they’re pretty small. I’d feel better if I knew the would be replenished. My owner watches this thing called “The Weather” on TV. I think I might start watching it too.

Shaking off a bit of excess water.

Costume Clotheshorse

St. Patrick’s Day 2008

I dread holidays. All of them. Well, not the religious ones because my owner doesn’t celebrate those, but all of the non-denominational holidays that should just be fun, those are the ones I hate.

This week we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, an observation of all things Irish. What’s that got to do with me, you might wonder. Obviously, capybaras are not Irish; we are from South America. My owner isn’t Irish either, she’s half Greek by way of Panama and the other half is some German-English mix. But the actual Irish, and those of Irish descent, make this ridiculous claim that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and according to my owner, that everyone extends to me.

Look at the photo of me at the top of this blog. Do you see that? I’m dressed up like a leprechaun with orange hair, a big green hat and a shamrock on my back. That was last year. Below you can see what indignation I had to suffer this year. Tiny green men sitting on me. They weren’t really there but still, the photo is humiliating.

St. Patrick’s Day 2009

This fiasco started when I was a baby ‘bara. I remember the first time my owner dressed me up. I wasn’t three months old. When Halloween came around she took me to the pet store and tried a variety of dog costumes on me–dog costumes!–finally settling on Pocahontas even though she suspected I was a boy.

Me as Pocahontas, Halloween 2007
Halloween 2008 she dressed me up as one of the horses.

At New Year’s 2008 and 2009 she made me look like a drunken lush.
New Year’s Eve 2007->2008
Do I look like the kind of capybara who would drink to excess?
New Year’s Eve 2008->2009
I guess this has a good message but why make it look like I would do that?

For Cinco de Mayo I wore a mustache.

May 5, 2008
I don’t think capybaras can even grow a mustache.

And for July fourth a tiara.

July 4th, 2008

We capybaras are dignified animals. We don’t need this kind of decoration to make us beautiful or interesting or to get attention. I can tell you, I get plenty of attention as it is. Why does she do this to me?

Looking on the bright side, I only have to wear the stupid costumes for a few minutes and it’s not a holiday every day. So I’m not as bad off as some of those dogs with their cute little sweaters and booties. I think I’d have to bite her if she tried that.

Me & Neptune: BFFs

Me and my guinea pig friend hanging out.

Caplin Rous & Neptune: BFFs

It has taken some time for me to get over the loss of my friend Seabiscuit (aka The Rabbit (Caplin & The Rabbit). I still miss our long talks under the dining room table. Luckily Coral and Carl bought a cute little guinea pig named Neptune to help ease the pain.

Neptune isn’t like The Rabbit because he can’t run around on the floor with me. The Rabbit weighed about four pounds but Neptune probably doesn’t even tip the scale at one pound. He’s a tiny thing. Coral and Carl are scared I will step on him. My owner is too. Neptune isn’t. He trusts me to be careful.

That is a mistake on his part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve jumped on the bed or the couch only to hear my owner scream out in pain. I don’t mean to hurt her but these paws weren’t made for walking on humans. I’m pretty sure they weren’t made for walking on guinea pigs either but that’s more open for debate, after all, wild guinea pigs and capybaras probably co-existed in the wild. I say probably because guinea pigs have been domesticated for a long, long time and no one knows for sure what wild rodent they descend from.

Is that anything good for me to eat?
Lettuce? You’ve got to be kidding.

One nice thing about Neptune is that he and I speak the same language. His sounds are called wheeks and mine are called eeps but, you know, it’s just a case of tomato-tomato (pronounce those differently to get the desired effect). Surprisingly, his wheeks are lower pitched than my eeps with the same meaning. I would have thought that being so much larger, I would have the deeper voice. Maybe my high-pitched eeps carry better underwater.

I do make my noises underwater. Like guinea pigs, I make my incredible array of sounds without opening my mouth. I think they come from my heart! I don’t think anyone has ever recorded the underwater calls of a capybara. That would be an interesting research project for an advanced student in capybara biology.

Neptune is a smart little guy. He has learned the circle trick only he calls it “turn-around.” He can also beg, but I don’t think he really had to learn how to do that. Those are his only tricks. It’s hard to imagine him learning to shake or wave like I do because his front legs are so stubby I’m not sure he can stick them out from under him. He could learn tapa-tapa, where I tap my owner’s leg with my paw, but I don’t think Coral and Carl have worked on that yet.

If you want to see videos of me and Neptune, check out:
(Caplin Rous in Three Rodents)
(Caplin Rous & Neptune: BFFs)

Me and Neptune, chillaxin’