When we visited Japan earlier this year, we visited the famous Jigokudani Monkey Park (which you can read more about here), a place where Japanese macaques bathe in natural hot springs.

I thought it was pretty funny that the monkeys were so spoiled in such a human way; the monkeys bathe in the same kind of tub a person would use.

What I didn’t realize until recently was that monkeys aren’t the only animals in Japan who get treated to a relaxing, hot bath.

At Nagasaki’s Bio Park, its collection of capybara, a type of rodent from South America, get spoiled with a hot bath in the winter time.

In the summer, the capybara get another seasonal treat: watermelon.

At Bio Park you can actually walk up and pet the adorable, docile capybara as evidenced by this video:

But not everything is rosy for Bio Park’s capybara. During feeding time they have to compete with their greatest natural enemy—the swan:

Strangely, Bio Park’s capybara aren’t the only ones in Japan who get special treatment. Up in Ishikawa, its zoo’s capybara also get to enjoy hot baths in the winter:

And in Fukuoka’s Torias Hisayama Zoo, the capybara lounge with other animals (like kangaroo and meerkats) in front of a heater to keep warm.

All in all, I’d say life is pretty good for capybara in Japan. Even though they’re far from their native South America, they get the royal treatment.

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  • rosenbauer

    I envy those capivaras… where I’ve returned to, there is no onsen…. urayamashiiiii!

  • María Paula Benjumea Cañón

    Chigüiros! they are not really spoiled here in South America (some people even eat them) so I guess they deserve it in some strange way.

  • Rose

    Awwww, capybaras are so special to me <3 I have two guinea pigs, and ever since I've discovered capybaras I always think of them as giant guinea pigs. They make the same noises too :)


    In Louisiana they kill capybara by the hundreds. They are pests who smell awful. Their meat is rank.

  • Roland Veasey

    Oh my gosh.

  • Joel Alexander

    I don’t really think it strange that they’re given hot baths – they come from the Northern end of South America, which is a fair bit more tropical than most of Japan.

  • KEiG

    How nice…Seems like a good family vacation xD

  • Grey Aragami

    Cute !

  • David Andrade

    This is pretty interesting, I talked about it to my mom who was born and grew up in Brazil. Her grandfather had a farm and she said Capybaras are like Hogs in the US, you find wild ones all the time on farms and other rural areas. She also mentioned that people eat them which is sad :[

  • Diana

    Yes, esp. in countryside people use to eat them, they say the meat is like pork. It is still very known but capybaras in the wild can host some deadly parasites, they do not kill the capybaras but people who eat their meat.