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Capybara Facts and Information
The thing about keeping capybaras as house pets is that, they’re nothing like dogs or cats. Dogs and cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, and they have evolved to coexist with their human owners, while still keeping some of their physical and emotional needs. For capybaras on the other hand are extremely social herd animals, which means they require constant companion.
Intensely Social Animals
Capybaras are emotionally complex and intelligent animals, many say they’re as intelligent as most intelligent breeds of dogs. So if their primary bond is with their owner, the separation anxiety is far more intense than what dogs usually feel and show. And unlike dogs who will adapt their behavior to please their master, capybaras do what they want. And this is one of the many reasons why they can be quite challenging to own as pets.
Also, their territory plays a crucial role of their behavior. Leaving urine wherever they go is their own way of social courtesy. It’s like their business card that contains important information of the individual capybara, such as sex and social status. Also, their urine allows them to distinguish genetic relatedness, experts say this is a process they have developed to avoid inbreeding.
They Can Be Difficult to Understand
Unlike dogs and cats, capybaras have not evolved (at least, not yet) to understand their master’s behavior. They get confused on how their human interact with them, and gets frustrated, if not aggressive without any obvious reasons.
Also, being closely bonded with humans can be stressful for the capybaras. This is why they need to bond with their own kind so they won’t be under stress constantly.
They Need their Fellow Capybaras
As herd animals, they need to live with their own kind, especially at night. In the wild, they spend their lives with their herd. Even their alpha male are tolerant with their subordinate males, as they have this sense of community to protect their herd and have everyone as lookout and alert the herd for any signs of danger. As a matter of fact, subordinate males make more alarm calls than the alpha males or alpha females of the herd.
Keeping Capybaras as Pets, Things You Need to Know
As with other animals, capybaras have different needs and wants. It is cruel to force them into an environment that stresses them. Here are some of the most important things you need to know when owning capybaras.
They Need the Sun
Capybaras require the sunlight for bone health. And as with humans, they need the warmth of the sun for overall health.
They Mark Their Territory
They urinate, or sometimes leave their feces to mark their territory. If you can’t tolerate this, then you need to think twice about owning a capybara. Having an outdoor space can definitely help.
Take a Hint of Their Body Language and Vocalizations
To create a bond with them, you must learn to be sensitive with their needs, and this includes reading their body language and familiarizing yourself with their vocalizations.
They Require Strict Diet
Try to provide food that they most likely will eat in the wild. This is important for their oral and overall health. They need food high in fiber, such as hay and grass. You can also give them guinea pig feed.
Should you decide to own capybaras as pets, then you should get at least two of them. As said earlier, they require companion, and having two of them that are bonded with each other is way better than being bonded with their human. Their fellow capybara can provide their emotional needs that most humans would not be able to provide.