- Capybara / Izu Saboten Animal Park / Zoos
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Right now all eyes are on some of the world's greatest athletes gathered in the greater Tokyo area, but those looking for a more adorable alternative may want to turn their attention to Shizuoka prefecture's Izu Shaboten Zoo. The zoo is famous for its collection of Capybara, the world's largest (and possibly chillest) rodent that is known to enjoy traditional hot spring baths at the zoo much to the delight of park guests.
After a one year hiatus, the Izu Shaboten Zoo will once again be organizing the The “Capylympics,” or The Capybara Olympics, which pits five Capybara from various prefectures in Japan (Izu Shaboten Park, Nagasaki Bio Park, Saitama Children’s Zoo, and Nasu Animal Kingdom) against each other in a watermelon eating contest.
The 5 selected capybaras will be provided with a 5oo-gram watermelon at their respective homes, and the fastest one to finish the entire watermelon will be crowned the gold medal champion of the Capylympics. As an added bonus, the winning Capybara will be gifted regional food specialties of the prefecture of competing zoos.
Ginnan (Izu Shaboten Zoo)
Kona (Nagasaki Bio Park)
Kokone (Saitama Children’s Zoo, Reigning Champion)
Kobu (Nasu Animal Kingdom)
Asuka (Ishikawa Zoo)
The event will broadcast live on the Izu Shaboten Zoo's official TikTok account, izushabotenzoo. Each Capybara's competition will be broadcast at different times throughout the day (time information available here.)