Would you like a capybara?

March 9, 2009


I’m following a capybara on Twitter. This one. He’s called Caplin Rous. Would you like a capybara? I would. But I don’t have a swimming pool. Or a blue blanket. Or £2000. Yes, that’s how much it costs to buy the world’s largest rat. And they are large, growing up to four and a half feet long. You can find out more about capybaras here and you can find out more about Caplin Rous here. I hope he doesn’t mind me using his picture.

I loved capybaras when I was a teenager. I frst saw one at the Manchester Museum. Stuffed. The Manchester Museum had floors and floors of stuffed animals. And then when you got to the top floor there were two stuffed alligators. Except they’d then go and move.

In a modern museum this would be done with animatronics. Back then though, these were two live alligators. In a museum! Amongst loads of stuffed things. I like to think they aren’t there anymore. No! I don’t mean dead, given that their average lifespan is 50 years. Maybe just moved outside, or to a zoo. 50 years stuck in a glass case in a dark room at the Manchester Museum is no life. Unless you’re the curator.

I’ve just checked at the Manchester Museum website. They had a new vivarium built in 2000. Phew! But no mention of the alligators. Farewell alligators, wherever you are. Or crocodiles. I don’t know! Who do you think I am? Bloody Lord Richard Attenborough? Ghandi? Johnny Morris?

Back to the capybaras. In South America they are eaten. Rat meat. Except during Lent when the Catholic Church has decreed they can be fish. It’s like the Church just makes these things up. Fish, the Church says, because they swim, and because they are a bit podgy they prefer to mate in water. Surely that could describe any of us.

Don’t eat them. Just follow the adventures of Caplin Rous.


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