'It's no different to having a dog or cat': The Texas couple who share their home with an EIGHT-STONE capybara named Gary... and even let him sleep in their bed
- Melanie Typaldos, 57, shares her home with a giant rodent named Gary
- Pet capybara sleeps in her bed and enjoys dips in backyard pool
- Eight-stone creature, similar to a giant guinea pig, is 'part of the family'
PUBLISHED: 17:26, 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:34, 22 June 2013
Finding an eight-stone rodent on the couch would see most people racing for the phone to dial pest control.
But it's a daily occurrence for Melanie Typaldos, 57 and her husband Richard Loveman, 54, who share their home in Buda, Texas, with a giant capybara named Gary.
Ms Typaldos adopted Gary after falling in love with the semi-aquatic mammals - the world's largest rodent - during a holiday in Venezuela, and she and her husband are so fond of their bizarre pet they even let him sleep in their bed.
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'I can't imagine life without him': Melanie Typaldos and her husband Richard Loveman make room on the couch for their pet - an eight-stone capybara named Gary
'Affectionate': The semi-aquatic mammal enjoys a swim with his owner's daughter, Coral Waters, at home in Buda, Texas
'Athough some people might find it strange, it's really no different than having a dog or a cat,' said Ms Typaldos, who installed a pool in her backyard for Gary to cool off in.
'Gary is really very smart and he's very affectionate.
'He comes when he's called and he likes to sleep with me,' she added.
Unusual: The Texas couple even let rodent Gary, who weighs eight stone, sleep in their bed
Companionship: Gary keeps a close eye on Flopsy the cat and Ms Typaldos' pet tortoise at her Texas home
Ms Typaldos adopted the capybara from an owner who was no longer able to care for him, and said the cuddly eight-stone creature quickly became a part of the family.
The 57-year-old even claims to have taught Gary to perform tricks.
'He learns tricks very quickly - faster than your typical dog would,' she said.
'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.'
Hitching a ride: Melanie, who adopted Gary from an owner who could no longer care for him, said having a capybara was not so different from owning a dog or a cat
In their natural habitat, capybaras spend most of their time in the water - so Melanie installed a giant pool in her garden to make Gary feel at home.
He was also introduced to the animal lover's menagerie of other pets; including a horse, rabbits tortoises, dogs and a cat.
She said: 'He gets on well with the other animals, although he likes to chase the rabbits for fun.
'He does sometimes get angry with the tortoises because he thinks they invade his space and there is nothing he can do about it.'
Taking a dip: Gary enjoys a swim in a rubber ring at owner Melanie Typaldos' home in Buda, Texas
'Companionship': Ms Typaldos said she fell in love with Gary the capybara and that he quickly became part of the family
Friendly: Gary's owners say he gets along well with other animals - including Boston Terrier puppy Juju
Pampered: Melanie and her husband Richard Loveman give Gary a bit of attention on the couch at their Texas home
Part of the family: Gary is seen left ready for a trip in the car, and right enjoying a cuddle with Flopsy the cat
Nap time: Gary's owner adopted him after falling in love with capybara's during a trip to Venezuela
Ms Typaldos takes Gary, who lives on a diet of grass, to visit pupils at schools around Buda to help educate the children about different animals.
She said: 'Most people don't know what a capybara is but as soon as they see him, they want to come pet him and feed him treats.
'He loves the attention,' she added.
Sizeable: The capybara is the largest rodent in the world - followed by the beaver and the porcupine
Pals: Mr Loveman rests his head against Gary in the back of the car on an outing in Buda
Firm friends: Gary the capybara nuzzles with Juju the boston terrier in Ms Typaldos back garden in Texas
Despite her affection for her pet, Ms Typaldos warned that capybaras were not your standard domestic pet.
'Capybaras can be quite aggressive sometimes and their teeth are very, very sharp,' she said.
'Gary is not at all aggressive, but a capybara bite can be pretty serious.'
But she added of Gary: 'He gives you that same sort of companionship and affection that other animals do - I can't imagine life without him.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345934/The-Texas-couple-share-home-EIGHT-STONE-capybara-named-Gary.html#ixzz2Wx2eroWv
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