a capybara eating a stalk of corn
Simon is a capybara who lives at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm on Stock Island. PAWSITIVE BEGINNINGS/Contributed

Hi friends! Reef the fox here with your weekly “Reef’s Report.” In case some of you missed it, our very own Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm on Stock Island recently made national news, appearing on “CBS Sunday Morning!” I figured this would be a great opportunity to catch up with one of the many animals that call the farm home: Simon the capybara.

Standing close to 2 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 150 pounds, capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. They have a barrel-shaped body, no tail and are significantly larger than their closest relatives, guinea pigs and cavies. Simon arrived in Key West last year after a facility reached out to Jeanne Selander, who oversees the farm. Simon needed a new home because, unlike most capybaras, he prefers to be alone. 

Reef: Simon, how has life been treating you since your arrival at the farm last year?

Simon: Hey Reef, things have been great! I have my own large enclosure. A pond to swim in. All the good snacks I like. And some lemur friends for neighbors. I like to lay next to their enclosure and nap during the day. 

Reef: Woah! That all sounds great. Except for the water part. I’m not a fan of water. What are your favorite snacks?

Simon: Hands down, corn on the cob. I can’t get enough of it. I eat husk and all. 

Reef: Well, I’m not a fan of vegetables. My mom tries to sneak veggies in our dinner every night, and every morning, we leave them right in the bowl for her to clean up. Speaking of my mom, I’ve noticed she spends a lot of time with you when she visits the farm. Would you like to explain that?

Simon: Oh Reef, no need to be jealous. I really enjoy the fact she gets her nails done and is an expert scratcher. Plus she talks about you all the time, so you are her favorite. Don’t worry. 

Reef: Well, the nails are definitely a bonus, so I get it. How did it feel to make national news?

Simon: I think I was born for stardom. But I won’t let it go to my head. 

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm is open to the public the second and fourth Sunday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m. It is free of charge, but donations are always appreciated.

Reef the Fox
Reef was born on a fur farm on or around March 28, 2021. He was able to be rescued when his mother and siblings started to reject him. Reef is missing toes on his front, right paw and the tip of his tail is missing due to injuries sustained in his short time on the fur farm. Reef arrived at Key Largo on May 6, 2021 by Nicole Navarro, of Pawsitive Beginnings Inc.