5 min read

Capybara Loves All The Animals On Her Farm

"She has just taken care of everyone."

Family is what you make of it. A capybara named Cheesecake probably couldn't agree more. Instead of hanging out with her own kind, she has befriended - and adopted - just about every animal she's met.

Six years ago, when she was just a baby, Cheesecake arrived at Rocky Ridge Refuge, an Arkansas sanctuary for abused and neglected animals. Because she was so young, Cheesecake initially lived inside the sanctuary founder's house, along with the dogs.

Cheese the capybara as a baby with one of the dogs
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"She played with the dogs and slept with the dogs," Janice Wolf, the founder of Rocky Ridge Refuge, told The Dodo.

Cheese the capybara as a baby with one of the dogs
Rocky Ridge Refuge

The dogs were the first animals to accept Cheesecake, so it wasn't surprising when, in turn, Cheesecake started caring for the orphaned puppies who arrived at the sanctuary.

Cheesecake the capybara with puppies at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"She would adopt them and she'd sleep with them and eat with them, and she'd discipline them too if they were naughty," Wolf said. "She was a good foster mom, and she just did a great job."

Cheesecake the capybara with puppies at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

Cheesecake certainly loved the puppies, but she mothered other animals as well.

Cheesecake the capybara with a puppy at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

She's adopted the ducklings ...

Cheesecake the capybara with ducklings at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

... and the deer

Cheesecake the capybara with a deer at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

... and the tortoise

Cheesecake the capybara with a tortoise at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

... and the emus

Cheesecake the capybara with two emus at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

... and the miniature horse

Cheesecake the capybara with a mini horse at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

... and the older dogs who no longer needed a mother.

Cheesecake the capybara with a dog at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

In 2014, Wolf rescued another capybara named Cobbler from someone who purchased him from an exotic pet trader.

Two capybaras at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"A kid had ordered him online and had him flown to New York City, where he isn't even legal," Wolf said. "They somehow found me, and I got sent this tiny little capybara."

Since Cobbler's arrival, he and Cheesecake have lived together, happily.

Two capybaras at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"Capybaras are social animals who live in large groups in the wild, so it's good that she's got another capybara," Wolf said.

But Cheesecake has also continued to socialize with the other animals. Lately, she's been playing "mom" to a chicken.

Cheesecake the capybara with a chicken at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"[The chicken] wouldn't hang with the other chickens," Wolf said. "It was obvious that she wanted to be with the capybara. She'd ride around on her back and sleep and eat with her."

Cheesecake the capybara with a chicken at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

The chicken, whom Wolf simply refers to as the "capybaras' chicken," now lives in the same enclosure as Cheesecake and Cobbler.

After a recent snowfall, the chicken decided to hitch a ride on Cheesecake's back.

Cheesecake the capybara with a chicken at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

"She rides around on both of the capybaras, but her favorite has always been Cheesecake," Wolf said. "And when it snowed, she wasn't about to get her feet cold, so she wouldn't leave. She stayed on that capybara all day. She didn't want cold feet."

Cheesecake the capybara with a chicken at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

Cheesecake doesn't seem to mind one bit.

"She's so accepting of other animals," Wolf said. "That's how most of my animals are, but she's just the epitome of that because she has just taken care of everyone."

Cheesecake the capybara with a chicken at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge

To see more photos of Cheesecake and her big animal family at Rocky Ridge Refuge, visit the sanctuary's Facebook page. Support all the animals at the sanctuary by making a donation.

Cheesecake the capybara with ducklings at an Arkansas sanctuary
Rocky Ridge Refuge