The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Meet The Texas Couple Who Shares Their Home with an Eight-Stone Capybara, Named Gary: It's No Different Than Having a Dog or Cat

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Meet The Texas Couple Who Shares Their Home with an Eight-Stone Capybara, Named Gary: It's No Different Than Having a Dog or Cat

Finding an eight-stone rodent on the couch would see most people racing for the phone to dial pest control.

But it's a daily occurrence for Melanie Typaldos, 57 and her husband Richard Loveman, 54, who share their home in Buda, Texas, with a giant capybara named Gary.

Ms Typaldos adopted Gary after falling in love with the semi-aquatic mammals - the world's largest rodent - during a holiday in Venezuela. They love their pet they even let him sleep in their bed.

"Athough some people might find it strange, it's really no different than having a dog or a cat," said Ms. Typaldos. 

"Gary is really very smart and he's very affectionate. He comes when he's called and he likes to sleep with me," she added.

Ms. Typaldos adopted the capybara from an owner who was no longer able to care for him, and said the cuddly eight-stone creature quickly became a part of the family.

The 57-year-old even claims to have taught Gary to perform tricks.

"He learns tricks very quickly, faster than your typical dog would," she said.

"He knows how to shake, turn in a circle, and stand up on his hind legs. He even jumps up on things on command."

In their natural habitat, capybaras spend most of their time in the water - so Melanie installed a giant pool in her garden to make Gary feel at home.

He was also introduced to the animal lover's menagerie of other pets; including a horse, rabbits tortoises, dogs and a cat.

She said: "He gets on well with the other animals, although he likes to chase the rabbits for fun.  He does sometimes get angry with the tortoises because he thinks they invade his space and there is nothing he can do about it."

Ms. Typaldos takes Gary, who lives on a diet of grass, to visit pupils at schools around Buda to help educate the children about different animals.

She said: "Most people don't know what a capybara is but as soon as they see him, they want to come pet him and feed him treats. He loves the attention," she added.

Despite her affection for her pet, Ms. Typaldos warned that capybaras were not your standard domestic pet.

"Capybaras can be quite aggressive sometimes and their teeth are very, very sharp," she said.

"Gary is not at all aggressive, but a capybara bite can be pretty serious."

"He gives you that same sort of companionship and affection that other animals do, I can't imagine life without him." She said.


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