One of the big challenges of keeping an exotic pet like a capybara is knowing when they are sick. In the wild, even minor illnesses or injuries frequently mean death. Sick capybaras may be pushed from the band to prevent the spread of disease or as an attempt to reduce the attention of predators. So sick or injured capybaras try hard to disguise their weakness.
That strategy works great in the wild but it’s not so great in captivity. It means that our pets don’t let us know when they need veterinary attention. Often there is no obvious sign of illness until it is too late to do anything to help. One thing captive capybaras cannot hide from us is their weight. If we have the means and the dedication to weigh our captive capys periodically, we should be able to notice a drop in weight signalling a potential cause for concern.
Another question people often ask is what should my capy weigh? There is little information available on this even for capybaras in the wild and almost nothing for captive capybaras. How is an owner to know if their young capybara is growing at a normal rate without the proper data?
For these reasons, The ROUS Foundation has launched a new project called Why Weight?
Why Weight? provides scales to keepers and owners to help them track the weight of their capybaras. The scales are cordless (capybara teeth are very hard on cords), easy to convince a capy to stand on, and can weigh the smallest to the largest capybaras. The scales are free but a recipient is required to periodically report the age, sex, weight of their capybaras to the ROUS Foundation. This information will be shared with the community through this web site. The name of the owner/organization can be either public or private and the animals can either be identified by name or by ID code.
Please contact the ROUS Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating.
The above video shows our first scale recipient, 6-week-old Chico, getting weighed on his brand new scale.