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Taxidermists Don't Wish the Elusive California Capybara Ill, But They Would Love to Land Its Carcass

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Photo by lorentey via Flickr.
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The appearance of a capybara the world's largest rodent far from its native South America near a wastewater facility in Paso Robles — has taxidermists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History even more excited than Twitter.

Jim Dines, manager of the museum's Mammalogy Collection, tells the LA Weekly that the museum's collection only has a capybara skeleton and a tanned skin. But what it would really love to have is a full specimen: "specimens are always preferable to skin and bones, especially because skins and skeletons in a museum's inventory are not always from the same animals."

What are the chances? The museum has landed famous animals who fell ill and died before. Bubbles, a hippo that was always trying to escape from a safari park in Laguna Niguel (not the late Michael Jackson's favorite pet), ended up in the museum's research collection after she was tranquilized on one of her escape attempts and, sadly, drowned.

So if a capybara in California should fall ill and die, there will be at least one museum in town gunning for the carcass.