Happy capybaras cure Monday blues

It's like a Pentecostal service, but with giant rodents, as a person moves through a crowd of capybaras, scratching each one until it falls over on its side, slain with the spirit of snuggliness.

Some fun facts about everybody's favorite friendly hundred-pound rodent:
FACT: An extinct, North American species of capybara was, on average, a hundred pounds heavier than the current creatures. An even larger ancient rodent once lived in Venezuela and weighed in at 1500 pounds. No word on fossil evidence of cuteness.

FACT: According to the Vatican, capybara count as fish, and are thus acceptable food for Lent. Apparently, the meat looks like beef, but contains less fat and calories. And the taste? I saw descriptions ranging from "pork-like" to "fishy". Which is quite a range. Have any of you tried it?
FACT: Capybaras live in herds—usually a handful of males, plus a lot of females and young. That sort of living arrangement is common for large mammals, but it's very rare in the world of rodents.

FACT: Capybaras are semi-aquatic and can remain underwater for as long as five minutes.

Via Chris Pasco-Pranger


  1. I love watching these guys at the National Zoo. Best time to see them is in the evening, just before the zoo closes.

  2. “rats” by Rasputina:

    Very many years ago, the Bolivians were starving so,
    They had rats as big as ponies there. They asked the Pope
    To declare them fish.

    We thank the Pope for granting us this wish.
    When Friday comes, we’ll all call rats fish.
    We catch them with a net, kill with the gun.
    We’ll call it all forgotten when we’re done.

    They didn’t look like rats at all, but like some horrendous horse doll.
    Still they had to eat this thing.
    In gratitude, the Pope-they kissed his ring.


    We’ll call it all forgotten when we’re done.

  3. So, I lived next door to a children’s zoo in Illinois for a year a while back and one of the zoo workers told me something odd about Cappys. I’d love to know if this is true. Their water is always filled with excrement and he said that’s because they’re semi aquatic and can’t defecate unless they soak in water for some time first.

  4. When I worked at Animal Kingdom I would often walk out of my just to see the capybaras and cheer myself up on a crappy day.

  5. FACT: @CaplinROUS is everyone’s favorite tweeting Capybara (Cappyboppy was born too soon). Caplin’s not going to be too happy about the ‘what do they taste like?’ question!


  7. Um, they taste alright. Not really the first thing I would eat given other options but also not the last. And it tastes a little like a combination of pork and beef with a hint of mutton. Also known as Chigüiro in many places.

    See also Cuy, or Guinea Pig another rodent that is eaten in South America. And if you were wondering, Cuy tastes a little like chicken or rabbit and is actually quite good. Caution to adventurous eaters, one of the most common preparations is al horno where the animal is roasted whole over an open pit. It looks a little grotesque but if you can get past that it’s good food.

    1. Yes, but the Vatican still won’t recognize fish as rodents. They are centuries behind the times when it comes to equal rights.

    2. True fact. Early missionaries didn’t know if they were safe to eat on fridays, so they sent back a rough description to the vatican asking for a ruling. Based on the fact that they spent most of their time in the water, the original ministry of silly hats decided that capybaras must be fish, and therefore safe to eat on no-meat days. Never an organization to admit a mistake easily, the catholic church still stands behind its initial decision.

  8. FACT: the purpose of capybaras is to flip out and kill people. My name is Xeni and I can’t stop thinking about capybaras!

    1. @Xeni: That almost made me have an “accident.” Best old-as-the-Internet meme reference I’ve seen recently.

    2. Capybaras are sooooooooooo sweet that I want to crap my pants. I can’t believe it sometimes, but I feel it inside my heart.

  9. I think according to the Vatican, beaver also counts as fish. That simply means it would be okay for believers to eat them on fridays and during lent as far as I know.

  10. I ate some in Brazil once. Taste and texture wise is was like a juicier pork and with a hint of beef and chicken. I liked it very much, a delicate taste and pleasant structure. It was very much unlike rabbit, even though that’s a fellow rodent. Rabbit is more game-like tasting.

  11. I’m becoming very distressed with how this comment thread is going. Eating beaver? Getting no tail? Tastes like fish?

    YOU’RE ALL GOING to the hot place.

    1. bmcraec: There is a reason I normally only tell about the beaver stew I had once when I’m talking Norwegian. :D

      (In Norwegian, the usual euphemistic animal is the mouse, not the beaver – this does lead to the opportunity for offcolor jokes regarding computer hardware, yes.)

  12. Oh, and another thing. The missionary position on them was they were for any day of the week? Sounds like a creative way for the Vatican to keep the alter boys safe.

  13. I lived next to a children’s zoo in Ill for a year and one of the guys that works there told me that since cappys are semi-aquatic they can’t defecate on land, hence the fact the water in their enclosures is always full of feces. Says they have to soak their sphincters to loosen them up. Anyone know if that’s true?

    Even if it is. DAMN they’re cute.

  14. Rabbits are NOT rodents. They have a different teeth layout as well as a digestive system that is more similar to horses than rodents.

    FACT: My two ninja bunnies will slay you in your sleep in they find out you are eating their kind!

  15. Fact: those are young capybaras… Adults are larger!

    Fact: I SO envy the person doing the scratching!

    I live in Argentina and when I was a girl, we kept one as a pet. He’d been offered to my mom during a field trip to NE Argentina, and she bought it because she feared he would end up as food otherwise. He was so young that we fed him milk from a bottle!

    As he grew up, he was a gentle animal, and very smart (at least as much as the German shepherd we also had at the time, who was very jealous of him). Capybaras are very vocal animals (just like their close relatives, the guinea pigs) and we sort of communicated as I imitated his calls. And their skin is quite sensitive so they appreciate the scratching :-)

    Also, he was a great lawnmower… though of course he also ate all our other plants, and mom wasn’t happy.

    Anyway, the story didn’t have a nice ending for me – when he became too large (and strong enough to break out of any enclosure we tried to keep him in), my mom gave him to someone who had a large rural place with a pond. I’m sure Capy had a happier life afterwards, but I cried a lot :-(

    Not that capybaras are a “normal” pet here in Argentina – but my mom’s a zoologist – is it any wonder that I ended up being a zoologist too? :-)

  16. Have any of you tried it?

    Given the choice, I think I’d rather give one of the capybaras a good petting instead of chopping its head off and eating it.

  17. Is there a handy list of all the things that aren’t fish that the Vatican considers fish for fast days? I know there’s Beavers, Capybaras, Barnacle Geese, and, I’ve heard, Puffins.

  18. I had capybara on one occasion while living in Venezuela. I actually thought it was fish. It was only after my hostess asked how I liked the “chigüire” that I realized what I had eaten.

    It was definitely fishy-tasting, but not altogether unpleasant. Now iguana–that was nasty.

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