all photos courtesy Izu Shabonten Zoo
Back in 1982, a zookeeper at Japan’s Izu Shabonten Zoo was cleaning one of the Capybara pens with warm water when they noticed that a group of them had gathered in a puddle of warm water and were soaking their feet and bums. These large yet gentle rodents loved water but the winter chill was too much for them, so the the zoo keeper had the idea of filling a pool with hot water. Sure enough, the Capybara’s climbed in and seemed overwhelmed with joy. Ever since, the zoo has maintained an annual winter tradition of hot baths for their Capybaras and this year they’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the tradition.
The 40-year anniversary celebrations will kick off next month on November 19, 2022 and will last all the way through April 2, 2023. In addition to the regular hot baths that the Capybara are treated to, during the event a number of different, rotating hot baths will be made available like yuzu hot baths and rose petal hot baths.
If you’re thinking about visiting, you can check the zoo’s website or twitter account for more details. And if you do go, be sure to check out the gift shop, which is selling some adorable Capybara hot bath merch.