How many hours do you think a giant rodent can bathe for?
Capybaras are so adored in Japan that they’ve served as muses for food artists and had cafes open in honour of their mascot character, the ever-popular Kapibara–san. In real-life, these giant rodents win hearts around the country with their love for bathing, as videos online continually show the animals casually relaxing in specially designed baths at animal parks in Japan.
On the weekend, four of these animal parks, located in Izu, Nagasaki, Saitama, and Nasu, decided to put this love of bathing to the test with the “Capybara Long Bath Showdown”. Held on Sunday 15 January, the four parks each timed the first animal to enter their baths that day to see which one would bathe for the longest amount of time.
Let’s take a look at the results below!
4th place – Kanna (5 year-old female) from Saitama Children’s Zoo in Saitama Prefecture
Kanna was first to get in the bath here but also the first to leave, as she was pushed out of the cramped area by another water-loving capybara. Her bathtime was clocked at a short 12 minutes and 34 seconds.
3rd place – Momiji (8 year-old female) from Nagasaki Bio Park in Nagasaki Prefecture
Staying in for 20 minutes and 3 seconds, Momiji was off her game, according to staff who hoped she would’ve stayed in for longer. Given that Momiji had to contend with an audience of admirers during her soak, and the company of another capybara who decided to join her, we think she can be forgiven for pulling the plug early on her first bath of the day.
2nd place – Shiratama (1 year-old female) from Izu Shaboten Park in Shizuoka Prefecture
This young female put in an admirable effort, soaking for 1 hour, 51 minutes and 29 seconds.
1st place – Umi (1 year-old female) from Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi Prefecture
Coming in at first place, this capybara surprised everyone by staying in the bath for an amazing 4 hours, 56 minutes and 32 seconds! It was particularly cold in Tochigi, and Umi was happy to keep warm in the bath for almost five hours.
The added appeal of having a stream of slowly dripping water in the bath, as opposed to outside of it, may have been the feature that put Umi head-and-shoulders above the rest of the competition.
The winner proved that giant rodents can bathe for a very, very long time. Another surprise finding was that it turned out to be an all-girl contest, with the females making their way to the baths before the males at all four venues. And because this was a competition, the winner received a trophy and local specialties, including bitter oranges from Izu, broccoli from Saitama and pomelos from Nagasaki, which were sent for Umi to enjoy at Nasu Animal Kingdom.
While the runners-up will have to wait a while before making another attempt at the long-bathing title, if there’s ever a capybara mannequin challenge, these amazingly still animals at Nagasaki Bio Park would definitely win first prize!