Capybara captures couple’s hearts

Meet Gari the capybara – a large rodent-like creature native to South America and not typically domesticated, at the Buda Public Library Thursday, July 19.

by WES FERGUSON

To be the largest rodent in Buda, Garibaldi Rous is an awfully unassuming creature.

The 115-pound capybara nervously chattered his razor-sharp teeth the other morning in the home he shares with his owners, Melanie Typaldos and her husband Rick Loveman, and he maintained a safe distance as he sized up a guest sitting across from him in his living room.

“He’s friendly, but he’s not very brave,” Typaldos said.

Hanging around just long enough to be polite, Gari ducked out the back door and headed for the safety of his above-ground swimming pool in the couple’s backyard.

“When he gets nervous he sticks to me like glue to show me how good a follower he is,” Loveman said. “Or he goes swimming.”

Though Gari was extremely shy when he arrived in Buda, hiding behind the couple’s couch and being scared to go outside, he instinctively knew how to swim and he has spent the past year or so getting used to his new digs. He is getting braver in his role as a “capybara ambassador” to the world, and has been filmed for a handful of national and international TV shows in the past few months, including “My Crazy Obsession” on TLC.

On July 19, Gari will visit the Buda Public Library from 2-3 p.m. as Typaldos reads from her book, “Celeste and the Giant Hamster,” about a cat that befriends a capybara. Raising money for capybara medical research at Texas A&M University, Typaldos also sells plush dolls and other items on the website.

(To read the complete story, pick up the July 2012 All Around Hays at stores and restaurants around town)

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