Animal Kingdom: Capybaras: An internet sensation


Graphic by Shraddha Sriram

Our world is constantly evolving, and trends rise and fall as time goes on. Popular on everything from Instagram to TikTok, videos and memes of the latest internet sensation have gone viral: the capybara. In fact, while I love the cute and furry creature, it makes me wonder why this particular animal has captured the hearts of so many.

At 100 centimeters and 80 pounds, capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. These cute, guinea pig-like creatures are agile on land and fantastic swimmers, and have teeth that never stop growing. Known for being shy and nonaggressive, capybaras are popular for being friendly with humans. This definitely contributes to their newfound popularity — people have just started to understand how amazing these animals truly are. Additionally, capybaras are typically found not doing much of anything, lounging around in zoos or simply napping the day away — something I am definitely jealous of. 

The rise of capybaras started around May 2022, and has continued to gain traction since. In fact, local amusement park Happy Hollow Park & Zoo features a capybara as part of their Zoo in the Hollow exhibit. 

Their online presence includes sped-up video clips of random capybara behavior, and even memes of capybaras wearing random articles of clothing. Of the myriad of media featuring this gentle animal, there are a few — arguably the most popular — that make me laugh every time. 

To start, short videos on TikTok featuring capybaras in varying situations have gone viral, always accompanied by Don Toliver’s “After Party” as the soundtrack. Accounts such as @capybaracertified and @nostressjustmelon have garnered millions of followers as viewers laugh at the absurdity of the clips. Toliver and capybaras seem to have no direct connection, but the amalgam seems to be working. 

Many Instagram users such as @capybaras_for_life and @capybara.affirmations have started capybara affirmation pages. Like the name suggests, these accounts post quite literally that — adorable capybaras posing with daily inspirational quotes. It makes sense that these uplifting posts have amassed thousands of views. A few hilarious posts include “I am a magnet for healthy friendships” — featuring a smiling capybara pile — and “I am unique and wonderful” with a capybara wearing a lei and sunglasses. 

Ultimately, capybaras have certainly added some joy to the world, and I look forward to seeing more posts about them in the coming months!