Head over to Izu Shaboten Zoo from November 21st to witness a winter tradition partaken by the resident capybaras.

Once a day at 13:30 on weekdays, and twice a day at 10:30 and 13:30 on weekends and holidays, the capybaras take a dip in the open air baths at the zoo.
Just like humans, capybaras take great pleasure from relaxing in warm water, and this special event allows the public to enjoy the capybara’s relaxed expressions as they soak and swim in the bath.

In addition to the public viewing on weekdays, the weekend event sees a variety of fruits and flowers floated upon the bathing waters, and makes for an excellent opportunity to take some ‘fashionable’ capybara photographs.

Who knew that capybaras could be so photogenic?

Izu Shaboten Zoo started breeding capybaras back in 1966. At the time, they were still a very strange and unusual animal in Japan.
In the winter of 1982, the staff were undertaking cleaning of the capybara exhibition with hot water, and noticed the capybaras relaxing with their feet and hips immersed in the heated water, leading to the discovery of the capybara’s fondness of bathing in warm waters. Since then, the zoo has held the ‘Capybara Open-air Bath’ every year for 38 years, and has now grown in popularity so much amongst the residents of Izu, that many consider viewing the animals bathing as a winter tradition.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.