Capybara (World's Largest Rodent) Is Safely Home After Escaping

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

TWRA receives calls, messages and emails regularly regarding longstanding myths and more. A common call is, “I heard coyotes hunting last night”. No one ever runs through the woods yelling loudly when they’re hunting. Another is, “I heard a mountain lion screaming”. Cougars are really quiet animals and all recordings received turn out to be red fox; which have a fairly loud scream. A recent message included a video of an adult bobcat thought to be a baby cougar.

  The agency has also been contacted about pterodactyls and sasquatch.


So when a call came in about a capybara, the world’s largest rodent, Monroe County wildlife officers Joe Pike and Kip Kite were a bit hesitant. “I’ve dealt with a lot through the years. I’ve learned to listen and ask good questions,” said Mr. Pike. Mr. Pike and Mr. Kite received a phone call from a frequent visitor to Tellico Wildlife Management Area (WMA) where the animal was spotted on June 19. Both asked the caller to share any photos. Sure enough, when their phones chimed with new messages, a capybara popped up on their screens.


TWRA officials immediately started calling zoos and other institutions looking for a home. “We knew this was a fluke and this was a once in a lifetime happening,” said Mr. Kite. The hope was to capture the animal and get it in safe hands. He said, “We obviously don’t want exotic wildlife running loose. However, we’re overwhelmingly willing to work with organizations for recapture and safe return”.


In the meantime, Officer Kite was working on an inspection at the Citico Wildlife Wilderness, located about five miles from Tellico WMA. The owner mentioned a capybara had escaped through an overflow pipe during recent rains. The mystery immediately came to a close.  Tellico WMA employees spotted the capybara again and contacted the owner who was able to live trap the animal and get it safely home.


All agency employees listen to stories each day. They rely on their education, science and years of experience to help others understand nature’s happenings, wildlife behavior and in this case get an exotic animal back into proper care.


There are many laws concerning exotic animals in Tennessee. TWRA oversees permitting for certain captive wildlife including exotic animals.  For more information on wild animal permitting, visit TWRA at

green|spaces Receives $50,000 Pay For Success Project Grant

green|spaces has been selected as a Pay for Success grant recipient from the Corporation for National and Community Service. "The $50,000 grant will help bring new services to residents in Chattanooga," officials said.  "The Pay for Success grant provides funding and technical assistance services to develop sustainable in-home projects that work to solve structural health ... (click for more)

green|spaces Initiates Straw Take Over Events For Skip The Straw Campaign

green|spaces is hosting three Straw Take Over events as a part of their “Skip the Straw” campaign, an effort to "the number of plastic straws that pollute the environment." The first Straw Take Over will be Oct. 19 at Bluegrass Grill from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by the second Straw Take Over on Oct. 25 at Niedlov's Breadworks from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  The Straw Take ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Investigating Shooting That Victim Says Happened A Week Ago

Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital on Friday evening after a person arrived with a gunshot wound.   The injured man told police he was shot on Thursday, Oct. 11. He said he was shot while on the dance floor of a club somewhere along Brainerd Road.   If you have any information about the incident, call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. You ... (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Teach For America Raises Concerns

For the last several years, many groups, individuals and parties interested in preserving public education for our children have stood firm as a rampantly growing privatization movement has descended upon our local educational landscape.  We saw last year the Department of Education push a plan that would form a partnership zone which could potentially lead to schools in the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Inequality & The Left

The story is told about a liberal politician who was getting a room full of snowflakes all heated up over equity and equality, which is big with the political Left right now. One of his handlers finally got the chance and whispered in his ear, “Use ‘fairness’ instead! That’s what sells … “ Afterwards a newspaper column read, “The liberals love fairness because it cannot be measured. ... (click for more)