At Rocky Ridge Refuge animal sanctuary in northern Arkansas, a mix of around 50-60 rescued animals are given care and shelter. Many live there temporarily as the sanctuary looks to place them in permanent homes. Other animals are permanent residents who help make the shelter unique… like Cheesecake the Capybara.

The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest rodent in the world… Close relatives are guinea pigs and rock cavies, and it is more distantly related to the agouti, chinchillas, and the coypu. Native to South America, the capybara inhabits savannas and dense forests and lives near bodies of water. It is a highly social species and can be found in groups as large as 100 individuals, but usually lives in groups of 10–20 individuals.

Capybaras are known for their communal parenting. In this 2013 clip from Animal Planet’s The World’s Oddest Animal Couples, Liz Bonnin speaks with Rocky Ridge Refuge founder Janice Wolf about Cheesecake’s role as a foster mother to puppy litters that stay at the refuge.

There are more capybaras and more mothers on this site, including a mother orangutan cuddling her baby and a mother raccoon teaches her kit how to climb a tree.

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