Melanie Typaldos is one of those people.
“Capybaras are not the right pets for most people, or even for very many people,” writes Ms. Typaldos on her blog, Capybara Madness. “They require a tremendous amount of time and attention, they can be aggressive, their teeth are extremely sharp, they need a pool for swimming and fresh, non-toxic grass for grazing, their food is expensive as are any veterinary expenses.”
Native to South America, capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. Although they’re closely related to guinea pigs, capybaras weigh in at about 100 lbs.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Typaldos about caring for these exotic pets. She adopted her first capybara, Caplin Rous, after falling in love with capys on a family trip to Venezuela. After Caplin Rous died, she adopted Garibaldi Rous. (Rous, by the way, is a tip of the hat to the R.O.U.S., or Rodent of Unusual Size, of Princess Bride fame.)
“When I got Caplin Rous in July 2007, I couldn’t even find another person with a pet capybara,” said Ms. Typaldos. “I found very little information on pet capybaras at all. That lack of information was one of the main motivations for starting my blog; I wanted to make sure that the next person to contemplate a pet capybara would have a better idea of what they were getting into than I did.”
Ms. Typaldos is also focused on helping veterinarians get more information about capybaras. “It is almost impossible to get a vet who has any experience with capybaras,” she explained, “and capybara physiology and anatomy differs significantly from that of most rodents. A good exotic vet with guinea pig experience is pretty much the best you can hope for.”
“After Caplin Rous’ sudden death in January 2011, I started the ROUS Foundation for Capybara Veterinary Medicine in conjunction with Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. This terrible event confronted me with the gaping lack of information about capybara veterinary needs. For example, while we know that Caplin died of liver damage, we don’t know what caused that damage.”
While these exotic pets come with lots of challenges, Ms. Typaldos wouldn’t trade her capy for anything.
(Photo Credits: All photos used with permission of Capybara Madness)
(Inspired by: Buzzfeed)
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