A giant rodent spotted living by a stream in Empingham belongs to a local estate agent, we can reveal.
Ian McGlynn took a photo of the animal, which is bigger than a labrador, while out walking a couple of weeks ago.
Capybaras are native to South America and the sighting prompted a flurry of interest and speculation about where it might have come from.
Now the mystery has been solved after Vernon Moore, managing director of Moores Estate Agents, revealed the animal escaped from the private menagerie at his home in Wymondham.
Vernon, who also keeps rare birds and ducks; birds of prey; wallabies; and coatimundi, said: “I acquired two capybaras as babies last year. They are brothers and were getting along fine until recently when they reached maturity and started getting territorial and fighting.
“It seems the bigger of the two forced his brother out. He managed to escape by forcing his way through a wire fence.
“I got a call initially from a farm in Stretton to say he had been spotted there.
“But soon after that, crops were harvested from fields nearby and he moved on looking for food.
“I’m aware he is currently in Empingham and we are trying to lure him to a container which we’ll use to get him home.
“Defra and the RSPCA are aware and are happy with the planned course of action.
“He is friendly and won’t hurt anyone. They feel happy in and around water and has been in Empingham for several weeks.
“I hope to have him collected within a few days.
“He is so big and powerful you couldn’t just grab him.”
Vernon said he has found a new home at a farm park in Yorkshire where the capybara can live when he is captured.
He added: “He’ll be much happier there. He wants his own territory and female to live with and that’s what he’ll get.”
Vernon said he has always loved animals and is licensed to keep a menagerie.
He added: “I find it quite therapeutic. It’s my escape from the hassles of life.”