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

Tennessee Fish And Wildlife Commission's 1st 2018 Meeting To Be Held In Nashville

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold its first meeting of 2018 on Jan. 18-19 (Thursday-Friday) at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Region II Building.   Committee meetings begin at 1 p.m., Jan. 18. The formal commission meeting starts the following day at 9 a.m. TWRA Waterfowl Program Coordinator Jamie Feddersen will preview the waterfowl ... (click for more)

TWRA Requesting Public Input For 2018-19 Hunting Regulations

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is soliciting comments for its 2018-19 hunting seasons’ regulations. This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff. The comment period will be open through Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Public comments will be considered by TWRA staff and may be presented as proposals for ... (click for more)

Snow Reaches Chattanooga on Tuesday Afternoon, But Brings Little Accumulation; Many Schools, Most Courts Closed Wednesday

Snow began falling in downtown Chattanooga early Tuesday afternoon, but there was little accumulation.  The National Weather Service issued a special statement on Tuesday night warning of icy roads. It says:  SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL  9AM EST  WED ...VERY COLD TEMPERATURES AND PATCHY ICE ON ROADS THROUGH  WEDNESDAY MORNING... TEMPERATURES ... (click for more)

Young Gets 23 Years In North Chattanooga Murder

Abram "AB" Young pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning to a murder in North Chattanooga and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Young was 17 at the time of the 2015 slaying of 19-year-old Charles Holsey during a drug deal behind the Kangaroo on Dallas Road. He is now 20. Prosecutor Cameron Williams said the sentence for second-degree murder will be served at 100 percent. Young ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Once In A Blue…

On August 21st this past summer, four black women were walking down the street in Dayton, Tn., when a white man asked from his porch, “Are you ladies here to see the eclipse?” Told that yes, they most certainly were, the gentleman pointed to his back deck and another white couple and said, “If you don’t have plans, would you care to sit with us?” The ladies were delighted and ... (click for more)