Update: Caplin Rous’ FACute, answering many questions.
My first encounter with a capybara was sad and strange: I saw one in a cramped cage at a county fair as a teenager. In amongst the rides, the shooting galleries, and the weird food, just this tiny cage and this incredibly peculiar creature that I’d never seen before, or even imagined existed. It had unbelievably beautiful eyes. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with capybaras because they seem so fantastical and they also have this gruffly wise look to them. (I only wish I had found some way to rescue that first one from what couldn’t have been a great life.)
Recently, I had a dream about capybaras, and, astoundingly, a capybara named Caplin Rous, responded in the comments! This led to further investigations, and the discovery that Caplin Rous lives in Texas, and that Melanie Typaldos dons the Caplin Rous (Rodents of Unusual Size, if you remember your Princess Bride) persona for her website devoted to her capybara. Not only that, Typaldos has just released a kid’s book called Celeste and the Giant Hamster, which does include appearances by a capybara. (The book is well-written, clever and interesting–definitely worth buying.)
It seemed only natural, given the topics that crop up on Ecstatic Days, to interview Melanie Typaldos about Caplin Rous, as wonderful a capybara as I’ve ever seen. The answers about capybaras may surprise you, including what sounds they make! It’s just a great interview.