The Paso Robles capybara: It's no Chupacabra

capybara-nick-kamp.jpgWe like a good Chupacabra or Montauk Monster sighting as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's good enough to get an exotic-ish animal showing up somewhere out-of-the-ordinary.

Take for example the unknown creature that was spotted by workers at a waste-water treatment plant in Paso Robles, Calif. last month. It eventually swam away, but not before the workers snapped a few photos and took to the Internet to figure out what it was.

Oh, it's just a run-of-the-mill capybara, the world's largest rodent with adults weighing in between 100 and 120 pounds. No big deal.

Actually, it is kind of a big deal. Or at least a medium one. Native to South America, capybaras are usually only seen at zoos in the United States (except for Florida where there's a healthy wild population going). While they can be kept as pets some places, California is not one of them. More than likely, this one was set free or escaped his owner at some point.

Hearty -- and harmless -- rodents who live for about 8 to 12 years, this is the third known sighting of a capybara in Paso Robles in the past three years. Authorities suspect that it's the same one ... unless he/she managed to find an equally rare escapee of the opposite gender to hook up with.

And just because you may or may not be able to have a capybara for a pet, doesn't mean you won't want one. Really, how could you not?

Photo/Video credit: Nick Camp
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