The Huffington Post David Moye First Posted: 06/21/13 EDT Updated: 06/22/13 EDT
Some people are into dogs, others cats, but Melanie Typaldos is what you would call a "capybara person."
A capybara is the largest species of rodent in the world, about the size of a dog. and Melanie and her husband, Richard Loveman, share their home in Buda, Tex. with Gary, who weighs 112 pounds.
"Although some people might find it strange, it's really no different than having a dog or a cat. Gary is really very smart and he's very affectionate," Typaldos, 57, said according to the Telegraph. "He learns tricks very quickly -- faster than your typical dog would. He knows how to shake, how to turn in a circle, how to stand up on his hind legs and how to jump up on things on command."
Typaldos and Loveman, 54, fell in love with the South American rodents while vacationing in Venezuela and later found one from a breeder in Arkansas. Since capybaras spend most of their time in the water, the couple added an above-ground pool for Gary and introduced him to their other pets, including a horse, a dog, a cat, rabbits and tortoises.
"He gets on well with the other animals, although he likes to chase the rabbits for fun," Typaldos said, according to the Irish Mirror. "He does sometimes get angry with the tortoises because he thinks they invade his space and there is nothing he can do about it."
Life isn't all work and no play for the giant guinea pig. Typaldos takes him to local schools to educate children about capybaras.
But while she is definitely happy to sing his praises, Typaldos said the species isn't the perfect pet for everyone.
"Capybaras can be quite aggressive sometimes and their teeth are very, very sharp. Gary is not at all aggressive, but a capybara bite can be pretty serious." she said, the DailyRecord.co.uk reported.