Image of a capybara

Capybaras, Capybaras Everywhere: How The Largest Rodent On Earth Became A Meme And Conquered People's Hearts

Ah, capybaras. The giant South American rodent has been appearing in memes since 2013, but it wasn't until early 2020s when capybaras really unleashed their meme potential, and they accomplished all that by doing what they do best: being chill and staying friends with every other animal.

The story of capybara memes is long and colorful, so if you want to know whether to pick "Ok I pull up" or the Capybara Song for your next capybarapost, and what an obsessed Japanese photographer has to do with all that, stick with us for this journey.

What Are Capybaras?

The capybara, or greater capybara, is a giant cavy rodent native to South America. They are semiaquatic animals and are relatives of the guinea pig. Capybaras are docile and usually allow humans to pet and feed them. While capybaras normally inhabit savannas and dense forests and live near bodies of water, they have adapted to urbanization and can also be found in zoos and parks. The animal can grow up to 4.4 ft in length and over 180 pounds, making it the largest rodent on Earth.

But you're here for capybara memes, right? More on that right below.

The roots of capybara's online popularity lie in the capybara-themed photography blog, created by Japanese photographer Katsuhito Watanabe in 2007. According to Watanabe, he first saw a capybara in 2006 and was so charmed that he decided to dedicate his life to the animal, traveling to zoos and taking over 100,000 pictures and videos of capybaras per year.

In the West, the popularization of capybaras started in June 2013 with the gimmick Tumblr account Animals Sitting on Capybaras, which, you guessed it, posted photographs of monkeys, rabbits and other animals perching on and riding these chill coconut doggies.

The capybara fandom remained mostly a niche thing until late 2010s. The South American rodent's climb to online fame remained slow-paced for a couple of years: in 2018, Watanabe tweeted a video of capybaras taking a yuzu bath, which went absolutely viral as people admired the capybaras and their chill ways.

Then, in 2019, several more videos of capybaras went viral, bringing more and more attention to the animal. Finally, in February 2020, gimmick account @CAPYBARA_MAN was created, soon becoming a major spreader of capybara content on Twitter.

They also invaded an elite Argentinian suburb in 2021. This act of class warfare did not go unnoticed either.

socialist gay jedi @lukamaru Fun fact, capybaras have become a symbol of revolution and anti capitalism in Buenos Aires because the affluent neighborhood they've been "invading" was a recent development from 2000 that destroyed their native wetlands so they're basically reclaiming their land. S The Sun O @TheSun · Sep 1 Population boom of the biggest rodents on Earth take over a suburb in Buenos Aires Reuters Sün LOS CAST 0:47 3.2M views 2:29 AM - Sep 3, 2021 · Twitter for iPad

Then came in the memes: first, "Ok I Pull Up" became the unofficial anthem of the capybara movement, and then His Name Gort, Masbro and many other memes followed. And in 2023, capybaras were yet again cast into the spotlight thanks to the Capybara Song that went viral on TikTok.

What Is "Ok I Pull Up?"

"Ok I pull up, hop out at the after party" is the most recognized lyric from Don Toliver's 2020 song "After Party." On September 10th, 2020, YouTuber EGA NATION combined the song with a montage of capybaras doing capybara things, with the video going absolutely viral everywhere.

The song became tightly associated with capybaras, with many more montages of the animal set to the song being posted in the following years.

What Is the "Capybara Song?"

The "Capybara Song" is a colloquial name given to the song "Capybara" by Stolichny Ona-Nas, where the lyric "capybara" and "cacybara" is repeated over and over. The entire song is really just a tribute to how cool the animal is, and it's only fair that it has recently gained popularity in capybaraposting on TikTok.

@justcapybaraboy #капибара#kapibara #kakibara#какибарп#прикол#животные ♬ Капибара – Сто-Личный Она-Нас

@nostressjustmelon Capybara!!! 🍉 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #capybara #capivara #carpincho #viral #meme #nostressjustmelon #capybaratiktok ♬ Капибара – Сто-Личный Она-Нас

Where Do Capybaras Live?

Capybaras are native to South America and can be found in most South American countries. They adapted well to urbanization, meaning that you may stumble upon them in zoos and parks. They are also docile, and usually don't mind being pet and hand-fed. Be wary though, since capybaras can carry ticks.

саpybara ?! сарybara!!! ^_^ coconut doggy o my gosh

Can I Buy a Capybara?

It depends. In some countries and states, it is illegal to keep a capybara as a pet; for example, you can't keep one in California and Georgia, but Texas and New York allow it (but not every New York borough), so you need to double check with local authorities.

Another concern is buying one: while capybaras are not considered threatened animals, buying one can be tricky, as they are not freely sold. Your best shot is buying one at a zoo, and since they are social animals, you'll have to get at least two. Finally, taking care of capybaras is challenging, so give it a good thought before you buy this cool beast.

look, mother, i am a hat yes, my child. the finest hat in all the land

For the full history of capybaras in memes, be sure to check out our entry for more information.

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