RUMOURS of a giant rodent roaming across Totteridge has prompted a spate of new sightings.

A capybara, known to be the largest living rodent in the world, was spotted scampering across fields near Darlands Lake on September 20.

Following a report of this sighting in the Times Series last week, several readers have stepped forward to claim they too have caught a glimpse of the 140-pound, 3ft-long creature.

Chris Scollo, 37, from Nethercourt Avenue, Finchley, spotted the barrel-chested beast near Darlands Lake in early August.

He said: "I saw its side and back, but not its face, as it quickly ran away into the undergrowth along the Folly Brook, about 500m downstream from Darland Lake.

"I assumed it must have been a deer, but was confused by this because I've never seen deer in the Dollis Valley before, and I've been running there for years.

"It didn't look much like any of the deer species one would expect to find in southern England, such as a fallow deer, and it didn't run like a deer.

"It never occurred to me until I read the article in the paper that it might be a capybara."

A pensioner from Mays Lane, who did not wish to be named, believes she saw the South American rodent last Thursday while walking her dog over fields in Ducks Island, off Mays Lane, in Totteridge.

She said: "I had no idea what it was at the time, but after reading the article in the Times, I googled it and viewed a video of a zoo in Japan where monkeys were filmed riding on the back of a capybara, and I realised that was possibly what I saw.

"It scared me at the time, I have to admit, but I am somewhat relieved that it wasn't a carnivorous wild animal."

Paul Winston, 55, from Sunnyfield, Mill Hill, is equally convinced he caught sight of the shy beast, which has slightly webbed feet and a blunt muzzle, back in July.

He was driving along Barnet Lane at the boundary of Barnet and Hertfordshire at around 9.30pm, when he caught something capybara-shaped in his headlights.

"I was driving along the road and saw an animal," he said. "My first instinct was that it was a fox, but then it caught the light and I thought: 'What on earth is that?'

"It was too big to be a rat, too fat to be a fox and it didn't look like any sort of dog.

"It looked a bit like a really small deer. It was very interesting looking. I was watching for maybe three seconds when it shot into the undergrowth."

Stan Nwaka, from Hendon Wood Lane, Barnet, runs regularly through Moat Mount, a small wooded area near his house, and believes he has seen the capybara twice in the past ten days.

The 47-year-old said: "It looked just like a small deer, but it was too small and fat to be a deer, and it was really quick. We could just glimpse it out of the corner of our eye."

Have you spotted the Barnet beast scampering across fields near you? If so, please contact Rebecca Lowe at or 07795 305271.