Capybaras Underwater

Capybaras swim. Lots of rodents swim: beavers, muskrats, nutria, even rats. Wild ones swim, of course. They live in or near water. What about captive capybaras, though? Where do they swim?

If I was a capybara, I think I would like to live in a Japanese zoo. Seriously, these guys have it pretty good. It’s not really swimming, though, is it?

How about this Japanese capybara? This is some serious swimming. These are very intimidating fish, though. If you don’t know how big capybaras are, this would be very confusing. It makes the capybara look tiny. (If anyone would care to comment on these fish, I am all ears. Assuming they are freshwater, what kind of crazy huge bodies of water do they have where these fish casually swim around without scraping bottom?)

How about pet capybaras? Melanie Typaldos built this custom capybara pool for Mudskipper. It has nice wide steps, a long swimming area, and it’s exactly the right depth for standing around. You’ll see that Dobby loved to stand around in his pool, too.

You can see her in action in this video.

Like most of us, Melanie was optimistic about the longevity of her swimming pools. We tend to start out with cheap packaged pools. Dobby had one like the one below. They like to lean on the side and let the water out. That’s kind of cute. It isn’t the big problem. This is Garibaldi, and he playfully nips the top edge of the pool side. He swims around a bit in the pool, but then look again. What’s happening to the bottom of the pool? He rips it to shreds in under three minutes. You’ll want to watch this one twice.

This next one is little Dobby in his dimestore molded plastic pool. You have to double these or the edges get chewed up. They are easy to keep clean, the water heats up in the sun, and even a full grown capybara loves to lay around in them. The smaller size makes a great hot tub in the winter, too. There’s no swimming, though. Too small for that.

For many reasons, I couldn’t build Dobby an in-ground pool. (Our water table is so high that a concrete pool turns into a boat and pops right out of the ground.) I bought him a typical above-ground pool. It didn’t survive the winter. I bought him another, but it was defective. He ate the third one. Number four was steel walled, but had a cheesy vinyl liner. It lasted a week. The fifth was a galvanized stock tank. He turned up his nose at that one, refused to go into it. Number six was thick walled, 16′ diameter (almost 5 meters), and very expensive. It outlasted him.

One of the best things about having a capybara is watching them swim. One of the worst things about having a capybara is cleaning the swimming pool. It’s not so much that they do unspeakable things in there. It’s more the mud that they roll in before they jump in the pool. Dobby’s pool had a great big pump and filter, but it could never quite clear the water. Rather, it couldn’t clear the water as fast as he could muddy it. So I put goldfish in there and called it good.

My friend at Funny Foot Farm, in Arizona, has a small herd of capybaras and a nice big in-ground swimming pool. The scorching hot Arizona summers mean there isn’t much mud, but dusty capybaras can make the water murky, too.

Her capybaras are going to be swimming with a lot of friends, so she recently installed this gigantic filter system.

This is a big filter!

Some capybaras have all the luck. Here’s our friend JoeJoe swimming with his girlfriend, Sweetie. It’s fun to see them play in the water.

That was cute, but I want to see more of that swimming pool, don’t you? Sweetie lived in Las Vegas, so she had a celebrity pool. Check it out in this last video.


Many, many thanks to Cody Kennedy for the use of his videos. I couldn’t possibly continue these blog posts without his help and enthusiasm. Check out Cody’s shop, Crazy Cody’s Creatures YouTube channel, and Patreon.

Mudskipper and Garibaldi appear as a courtesy from Melanie Typaldos’s Capybara Madness website. You can help capybaras by donating to The ROUS Fund for Capybara Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M.

Funny Foot Farm and Tucson Petting Zoo is in Tucson, Arizona. Check it out!

The first Japanese video is from Hiro@sea. I recommend you check out the videos of their shoebill, a ridiculous bird! The second is from Nagasaki BioPark. Get yourself a nice snack before you settle in with their videos. The capybara videos are so fun you’ll be watching them for hours!

You can support Stacy’s Funny Farm by shopping at Georgia Dee’s Gift Shop. You can also donate directly. Stacy’s Funny Farm is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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