Video: 10 stone, 4 foot-long rodent found on Essex golf course
This is the moment that four golfers about to tee off at the eighth hole at North Weald Golf Club in Essex realised they were standing next to the world’s largest rodent.
The quartet, Kevin Walters, Barbara Walters, John Miles and Pat Miles, thought the animal was a wild boar, while staff at the club, who rushed out to take this video, thought it was a cross between a beaver and a bear.
It was not until the golfer on the hole behind them, Stefan Freeman, accurately identified its species – this was a capybara. Unlike bears, the animal is a herbivore and doesn’t mind being cuddled by humans – provided it can get over its shyness.
Capybaras live in the wild across South America and can grow to lengths of more than four and a half feet, several times larger than their closest relatives – guinea pigs.
And, let’s face it, they are very cute.
The mystery of why the animal was on North Weald Golf Club was quickly solved when nearby Ashlyn’s Farm Shop, which has buffalo, emus, wallabies and rhea on display, announced that one of its capybaras had gone missing.
A spokesman for North Weald said: “It is strange to find one in the wild … in the UK of all places!
“On closer inspection, many have suggested it looks like a cross between a beaver and a bear!”
This is the second time an exotic animal has been spotted on a UK golf course this year.
The six foot South American bird, the rhea, which can run up to 45 miles per hour, became a familiar sight to players at Barkway Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire, where it grazed for several weeks after it escaped its enclosure.
The bird was said to be very popular with local golfers. However, a local gamekeeper shot it dead and sold it as meat for sausages.
Images from Flickr users devittj, capybarajp and tambako the jaguar