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Police remove a capybara, Elvis the African porcupine and more from Sierra Vista home

The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office rescued a zoo of exotic animals discovered in a home in Sierra Vista earlier this month.

The animals included several of the large rodent Patagonian mara, a capybara and an ostrich-like bird known as a rhea.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said deputies also had to deal with an extremely friendly African porcupine.

"He’s just huge. His name is Elvis," Capas said, "and he’s extremely friendly. The capybara, they just look like big rats. They’re huge. They’re kind of kangaroo-ish."

The owners lived in Tucson and would check on the animals periodically. But the animals would tip over containers and be left without food or water.

Capas says the animals have all been placed in foster care.

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.