I suspect if reincarnation is a thing, I am coming back as a capybara. There is little question of that. To whom it may concern: might I please return as a Japanese capybara, in a zoo with a yuzu onsen?
The Japanese are fastidious about bathing, probably because their volcanically active island has many hot springs, or onsens. Inspired by the natural onsens, the Japanese enjoy hot tubs. Because capybaras are tropical animals, it is natural in winter for the Japanese to indulge them as they do themselves.
The yuzu is an exceptionally fragrant citrus fruit. Relatively useless for eating fresh, it makes interesting preserves and the Japanese manage to find myriad uses for it. The yuzu’s charm is in the zest: the rind is legendary for it’s fragrance. Dunked into a hot tub, the fragrance is released for all to enjoy. The yellow citrus you see floating in the capybara onsens below are yuzu.
Personally, I think the zoos cheat and throw in a few lemons and oranges. I used to peel oranges in one long curl for Dobby’s winter
wading pool hot tub onsen. Even a mandarin orange gives up a lovely fragrance. I’m sure Dobby appreciated the fruit peels floating in his pool.
The following video has some exceptional ear wiggling and very satisfied capybara whimperings.
I used to pour hot water over Dobby in cold weather, or have a volunteer do it, and watch him steam for a while. I had a hose connected to the hot water out there to make it easy. I think Nagasaki BioPark was the first to build a fancy capybara onsen, but most Japanese zoos have them, now.
This last video starts out in an onsen, but then the capybaras- one in particular- the “Dobby” one, gets out. “Dobby” has figured out that zoo guests can buy capybara food at a little booth in their area. Big handsome clever capybaras can stand up and grab goodies for free, though! Capybaras have a unique way of standing up, like a scissor lift or something. This is a great demonstration of that technique. That and blatant theft.
At 25 seconds the mouthing you see is begging for food. I recognize that! Also, I don’t think that is a “Dobby.” I think it is a pregnant female. Take a look at her when she stands up. No wonder she’s hungry!
I know I have Japanese readers out there. If any of you go to a zoo, take some photos, get some videos, and share them with us!