THE world's largest rodent is no longer on the loose.

The escaped capybara, which had been spotted at various points along the River Thames, is now back at Lady McAlpine's animal sanctuary at Fawley Hill estate, between Marlow and Henley.

The exotic creature, normally only found in South America, had been spotted by Hambleden lock a few weeks ago, prompting a search.

Floods of calls came in to Lady McAlpine after the first article in the Marlow Free Press, and the capybara has now been picked up by her estate manager at Temple Lock island.

Lady McAlpine told the MFP the water loving mammal was happy to be home again.

She said: "He and his mate and the tapirs all cuddled up together to show how much they had missed him. "It was very touching. He is in rude health."

Reader Chris Hotton, from Marlow, spotted the animal at Temple lock and sent us this picture above.

He said: "I was taking a walk to the lock and I was sitting on the bench and I noticed something going on.

"Suddenly this thing shot out in front of me, it was massive. It took one look at me and then fled into the garden.

"It was tearing around the garden, it was trying to hide, but it was such an enormous beast it had no hope of hiding."

Capybaras are the largest rodents on the planet, weighing from 35 to 66 kg and standing up to 0.6 metres at the shoulder, with a length of about 1.2 metres.

The previous week a couple holidaying in Bucks got a big surprise when they discovered the exotic creature at Hurley.

Ian Cummings, from Rochdale, who was taking a weekend break with his wife Jane, contacted the Free Press after reading our article.

He said: "My wife and I were walking our dog on the Thames bank at Hurley Riverside Park on Friday evening and saw an unusual looking animal calmly sitting next to a park bench.

"It was very tame and unfazed by our appearance."