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A large rodent originally from Argentina is on the loose in a Colorado park

A large rodent originally from Argentina is on the loose in a Colorado park

July 5 (UPI) — Colorado wildlife officials are trying to track down a long-legged South American rodent that was spotted roaming loose in Lakewood’s Bear Creek Lake Park.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said officials are still searching for the Patagonian mara, which was first spotted Monday by several witnesses, including park rangers.

Patagonian maras grow to be about 2 1/2 feet tall.

“They’re a larger rodent species, although they have fairly long ears like a rabbit’s and legs that look almost deer-like,” Denver Zoo animal care specialist Kat Emanuel told KUSA-TV.

The origins of the Argentinean animal seen in the park remain a mystery.

“I don’t think he walked all the way from Argentina,” said Emily Insalaco, senior director of animal care at the Denver Zoo.

He suggested that the Patagonian mara, a species sometimes known as Patagonian guinea pigs or Patagonian hares, may have been an exotic pet that escaped or was abandoned by its owner.

It is not legal to keep Patagonian maras as pets in Colorado.