Introducing Caplin: The World's Largest RodentPublished March 16, 2010
One of the things I appreciate most about my online animal-loving buddies is how generous they are about sharing pet-related articles of interest. They particularly enjoy items which feature unusual critters and delight in spreading the word about them. So when this fascinating story arrived in my email box the other day, after I picked up chin from off the floor, I thought it worth sharing. I bet that you will get as big a kick out of it as I did. The first word that I associate with Texas is "huge". But not only was I amazed as I read about this unique pet, at first I doubled over with laughter. It appears that a lady in Texas is keeping a gargantuan rodent as a house pet. This oversized rat is named Caplin Rous. He is a Capybara, the largest species of rodent in the world and one that few people know about. Photo credit: Typaldos Just like many other pet companions, Caplin enjoys learning tricks, getting treats and cuddling up in bed with his humans. He also loves to accompany his owner, Melanie Typaldos to the local pet store. In sharing about Caplin, (whose second name is Rous- an acronym for "Rodent of Unusual Size", Melanie said, "People hear the word rodent and they think it's some kind of a dirty word. But many of them are very smart, clean, loving animals". This said, she doesn't recommend that the Capybara is a pet for just anyone. In public, Caplin is generally a "perfect gentleman" and a very loyal pet; but at home he can be very territorial. If he doesn't take a liking to a visitor he is apt to bite. And since he enjoys munching on grass all day, he must have a large grazing area. As a semi-aquatic animal he also requires an environment where he can be near water. However, Melanie and her husband provide the ideal home for their 100 pound rodent resident, since they have acres of open spaces of pesticide free grassy plants surrounding their home in rural Buda, Texas. They have both an outdoor pool for him in which to swim, and an oversized tub for him indoors. This rodent absolutely lives the life of luxury. And when Caplin is not enjoying a dip in the pool, or enjoying a meal, he loves to follow his humans around the house, much like a typical dog or cat. When they are separated, Caplin will often make his displeasure known by making an "eep" sound, to let them know he misses them. Melanie said, "He's very needy but I love him to death. He's very affectionate. He loves to lick my face and forehead and just follow me around everywhere." Oh and yes . . . in case you were wondering Caplin is thoroughly housebroken, using an oversized water bowl kept in their bedroom. Due to her affection and love for their robust rodent, Melanie has made Caplin an "ambassador" for the species. She often takes him for visits to local schools for wildlife talks and visits pet friendly stores to show him off. Speaking about the crowds that gather, Melanie said, "Mostly people are just stunned and amazed. People literally stop their cars in the street and want to take a picture with him ...When we're in public he will tolerate anything. Sometimes kids will surround him to the point that he can hardly move and he's completely calm." Since Melanie is a full time software engineer, she has her hands full managing her time. But as her mission, a labor of love is to educate folks around the world about the Capybaras, with little information online she has created a Facebook account, a Twitter account @CaplinRous, and of course the internet savvy Caplin has created his own blog gianthamster.com. Melanie added, "He's so smart and I absolutely just love him. Being with him is just a lot of fun." Does the thought of being owned by a Capybaras appeal to you? Leave a comment and let us know.