Rocky the runaway spotted in Chesapeake; headed toward Dismal Swamp

Rocky the runaway serval cat was spotted this week in Chesapeake. [Photo courtesy Brian Hankins]

Defying all attempts to trap him, the Outer Banks’ most infamous runaway turned up in Chesapeake this week. But is Rocky — the African serval at on the run since October — headed back to his Martins Point home?

It doesn’t look that way.

Rocky was spotted on Kathy’s Way in Chesapeake this week, not far from the Dismal Swamp, about two weeks after he was last seen in Virginia Beach.

In a Facebook post, Brian Hankins — Rocky’s owner — said he’s worried his cat is too far inland but thinks he’d be safer in the Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge instead of traveling roads, overpasses and bridges.

Rocky at home with his family’s dog. [Photo courtesy City of Virginia Beach]

After Rocky turned up in Virginia Beach two months ago, city Animal Control,  noting that Rocky “is a bit infamous in his area,” set  several traps set in areas he was sighted. But they didn’t lure him in.

Rocky last escaped from home in Martins Point on Oct. 23, 2018. He is wearing a tracking collar, but the batteries died shortly after his breakout.

Virginia Beach officials and Hankins say Rocky is a domesticated pet, friendly to dogs, people and children.

Since his last escape, Rocky has been spotted many times and caught on security camera footage in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. Traps have been set and wildlife trackers have worked to find him, but the elusive feline evaded capture. His last escape, by far his longest, came about six months after a breakout early in 2018, which lasted several months.

Serval cats are considered the most successful hunters among African wildcats, but as pets they are known as extraordinary escape artists.

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