Wellington woke to the delightful news that Iapa, beloved wine barrel with legs currently being adorable at Wellington Zoo, has popped out seven precious little capybara pups. Noted capybara fan Emily Writes got the exclusive.
Capybaras are a wonderful animal, universally loved and adored – they are friends to all. They are like rat pig dog babies with stupid lovely faces that just make you smile. Officially they are mammals of the rodent family. Unofficially they are the greatest animal to be currently housed on our fair shores.
And Iapa, one of the capital’s beloved capybara, just gave birth to SEVEN adorable, perfect little fat tubby tubs.
Wellington Zoo is home to three capybaras – Vara and Iapa – sisters and, in my mind, best friends who spend their days planning the downfall of the patriarchy – and Pepe, who I have humanised to be a gentle and quieter rodent version of Tim Shadbolt.
The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. This sounds like the stuff of nightmares – but they are somehow The Cutest. It’s like they took all the best qualities of all the shittest animals to make the best animal. They have cute little mouse ears, ratty whiskers and have fat guinea pig bodies. Their ever-growing front teeth are slightly horrifying but who are you to judge? You’re not perfect.
One of their notable features is their partially webbed feet, which means they can swim, as well as waddle, into your heart.
Capybaras are vegan but are not dicks about it. They never post Facebook status updates about how you’re a chicken murderer even though you kind of are. They eat mostly grass, water plants and vegetables, as well as fruit and tree bark; they did this well before the Bachelor, making them trendsetters as well as delightful fatties. They are also a herd species, which means they are a very social animal.
The most significant difference between a male and female capybara is the scent gland found on the nose of a male capybara. This bump is called a morillo and is used as a way of sending out a chemical signal, particularly during breeding season. In this horrible world we live in there’s nothing more wholesome than a dude who just lets off a nice smell and waits for the ladies to come, without ever even considering being a horrible handsy creep.
Now that we have established the superiority of the capybara, I spoke to Wellington Zoo’s Ash Howell about Iapa’s exciting news.
I am very excited about Iapa having seven babies. Can you please tell me what she would like for a present?
We are very excited too! Iapa loves eating bamboo, but please don’t send anything, she’s got plenty here at Wellington Zoo.
Did she know she was having seven babies or was she just like OH GOD NOT ANOTHER ONE PLEASE WHY WHY DO THEY KEEP COMING?
We have done several ultrasounds on which we could only identify three babies, so seven was a bit more than we were expecting. We thought she’d have three, it was quite amazing to find seven little capybara pups with her this morning!
Did her partner apologise for impregnating her with so many babies?
Pepe, the father, is mostly keeping his distance today, but that’s because capybaras generally let the mums look after the babies at this age, not because he’s in trouble. He’s interacted with the pups on several occasions today and has been very gentle with them.
So he’s going to become “active parent”? Will he be getting up during the night?
With capybaras it’s mainly the females that look after the offspring. Iapa has been taking care of them, and Vara, the other female, has also been supportive and has interacted well with the pups.
What was her labour like? Did she do hypo-birthing?
We discovered the seven pups this morning. All signs point to a smooth labour, with a quick initial check showing healthy babies and a mum that was, understandably, a bit exhausted, but was looking well.
Did she go on an antenatal course?
No, Iapa just followed her natural instincts.
Is it true, I read it somewhere, that capybaras are really great parents who have real cool playdates where they just watch each other’s kids and just chill out. Like all the baby capybaras are looked after by whatever mum has the most energy. When one mum capybara is tired or if her second glass of wine was a heavy pour the other capybara mums just look after her child or put on some Peppa Pig or something. Or they build a fort and say to the kids “Let’s play a game called ‘how long you can stay quiet and not break anything while the mummies are on the deck.’” They don’t judge each other when their baby capybaras are being feral. They just chill and are like “Do you want some more cake? Is your cider OK? Girl, your hair is so good can you henna mine?” Is that factually correct or what?
There are a few factual errors there, but yes capybara mums are very supportive of each other and they help out with raising the pups.
If she had a c-section will she be shamed by all the capybaras or are they in fact the good bitches I imagine them to be and they don’t care about the way people birth as long as they feel safe and are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve?
Iapa would’ve followed her natural instincts and let nature take its course. Capybara mothers in a herd are very supportive of each other and their offspring.
What did she name all of her babies and can one be named Emily?
The sex of the babies hasn’t been determined yet, naming will be held off for a while.
Can I take one home because you have six others?
That would be a no.
I would look after it but fine whatever. Is Iapa your favourite now? Because she’s such a hard out? Have any other capybara mums had this many babies?
Generally capybaras have a litter of between one and eight babies. Seven is certainly up there. We’re very proud of Iapa for being a great mum so far. She’s been very calm and very good with her pups.
Are capybaras indeed the best animal you have at the zoo? Because that question is rhetorical. I could watch those fat wine barrels all day.
We couldn’t possibly pick favourites, but the capybaras would certainly be up there, they’re very popular with staff and visitors alike.
Thank you for answering my capybara questions.