The Suitcase Lady


May 26, 2020, 9:11 pm

I recently read about a delightful way of social distancing in a restaurant situation. The Izu Shaboten Zoo in Japan has scattered capybara plush toy animals on chairs in their cafe. Capybaras were chosen as they are one of the most popular animals at the zoo.

What, you may ask, is a capybara?

Weighing in at about 110 pounds and natives of South America, capybaras are the largest living rodents in the world. Do not be turned off by the word “rodent”. These animals are charismatic; they look like giant cuddly guinea pigs, who are, in fact, their closest relatives.

Capybaras have been called the rodent version of the hippopotamus as they chew their veggie food while swimming in swamps. Being semi-aquatic, they are always found near water. Webbed feet and eyes on top of their super-sized heads make them well adapted to the watery life. They can dive and stay underwater for five minutes and even sleep underwater, nose up. But these creatures are no slouches on land, either, and can run as fast as a horse.

Capybaras are extremely social animals, living in groups of 10 to 20. They also mix well with other animals. This trait has earned them the nickname of “moving chairs”. All sorts of birds, monkeys, rabbits and even other capybaras have been seen hitching a ride on their host’s back.

Check out these pictures of the social distancing capybaras.

Other restaurants around the world are using mannequins and blow-up dolls to achieve the required open spaces. I’ll take the capybaras any day. Who wants to dine with a bunch of dummies?

2 Comments for this entry