I wear many hats, but this weekend I am working for the ROUS Foundation. My friend Melanie Typaldos established the ROUS Foundation in fond memory of her pet capybara, Caplin Rous, the World’s Most Famous Capybara. The ROUS Foundation provides funds for certain veterinary expenses associated with the care of captive capybaras through services provided by Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Melanie and Caplin inspired me to get my own capybara, so all of the Dobby Destruction around here is actually their fault. While I never met Caplin, he was Dobby’s brother. They were not litter-mates, but had the same parents, Bonnie and Clyde. They met in this video:
Dobby is the friendly but squeaky little baby that Coral holds up to the fence about 2 minutes into the video. I went out to Star Farm about a week later to pick Dobby out and bring him home. Everybody knew I was going to pick the friendly little guy in this video.
I didn’t actually meet Melanie until after Caplin had died and she had adopted her second capybara, 10 month old Gari. I flew to Texas several times when Gari went to the veterinary clinic at Texas A&M. The photo below was one of the fun visits when Gari was fairly healthy and had only recently had some sebaceous cysts removed. For Gari, that was nothing. He was a good sport about the veterinary care he seemed to need throughout his life.
Gari’s medical problems were probably related to his early care and nutrition. When Melanie adopted him at 10 months, he was 18 pounds (8.5 kg) underweight and very, very hungry. That is why the ROUS Foundation started the Why Weight? program. Then she made me Vice President of the ROUS Foundation. I had already been tracking pet capybaras, including those kept in small petting zoos, circuses, and even zoos. (Currently I have about 70 individual capybaras on my list, 45 living outside zoos world-wide, 39 in the United States alone.)
There is very little information available about capybara care, so when a capybara gets sick, there is often little warning. Weight is fairly easy to determine, and one of the few factors that can be easily compared between individual animals. A capybara that is growing at a normal rate and achieves a normal adult weight has at least that- a good adult weight. We have seen what Gari’s early below-average weight eventually meant for him. The Why Weight? program tracks the weights of capybaras- especially young ones- and collects the data on healthy capybaras to use as an average baseline.
So, that’s what I am doing this weekend, besides chipping ice off of rabbit and dove water dishes. I’m collecting capybara weight data.
If you would like to donate to the Why Weight? program, follow the link below.