For most groups of animals, making them bigger doesn’t make them any cuter. For example, regular spiders? Not cute. Giant spiders? Still not cute, and now terrifying.
Somehow, though, rodents are the exception to this rule, as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent, is adorable. But you know what’s even cuter? The babies of the planet’s biggest rodent, like the litter of five recently born in Japan.
As you can guess from its name, the stars of Ichihara Elephant Kingdom are its company of pachyderms. The zoo is also home to roughly a hundred other species, though, such as chimpanzees, penguins, tigers, and capybaras.
There’s something silly yet heartwarming about the way capybara look, with their bushy coats and chunky faces, they kind of look like jumbo-sized hamsters. Mysteriously, though, shrinking them back down makes them even cuter, as we see in with this scene of five siblings attentively listening to one of their parents tell them an important life lesson.
▼ Except for the guy in the upper left, who looks like he really want to run off and play.
Being located in Chiba Prefecture, across the bay from Tokyo, Ichihara City isn’t quite as bustling as Japan’s capital. This slower-paced lifestyle occasionally allows the capybara to partake in the Japanese tradition of taking a bath with yuzu citrus fruits bobbing in the water around them.
Communal bathing is a part of Japanese culture, and it’s not unusual for parents and children to bathe together. We’re not sure what the norm is in their native South America, but the capybara residents of Ichihara Elephant Kingdom seem to have assimilated to the customs of their new home.
While a lifespan of roughly 10 years means Capybara live longer than many other rodents, this still means that the five pups won’t be babies for long. Lucky for them, though, the little tykes won’t have to worry about losing their good looks once they grow up. As this close-up of one of the proud parents clearly shows, the family’s genes should allow them to age quite gracefully.
▼ This capybara has nicer eyelashes than most movie stars.
Ichihara Elephant Kingdom / 市原ぞうの国
Address: Chiba-ken, Ichihara-shi, Yamakogawa 937
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults 1,800 yen (US $17.65), children 900 yen (US $8.80)
Source, images: Squall Channel