HILLSDALE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — If you didn’t know there was a wallaby living in Hillsdale before, chances are you found out about him Monday. That’s when Rocko decided to have a little adventure.
“He’s never spent a night outside,” owner Melinda Hughes said.
Rocko has been a member of the Hughes family for the past 5 years.
“My daughter talked me into it,” Hughes said. “She wanted this wallaby we found for sale in Tennessee.”
After “stewing about it” for about three days, Hughes brought the then-3-pound marsupial home to Indiana.
Named after the title character of the old Nickelodeon show “Rocko’s Modern Life,” he usually likes to sit at home in his recliner and watch television, but Monday, Rocko had other ideas.
Hughes thought Rocko was playing in backyard, but when she let her dog outside to join him, she noticed the back gate was open.
“Rocko was about 10 feet outside of the gate,” she said. “I went to get him, and he decided, ‘nope.’ He didn’t want to come to mom, so he took off.”
And thus began the great Rocko hunt.
“I chased him through the woods, out by a pond, and I couldn’t catch him,” Hughes said.
Neighbors soon began helping in the search. One neighbor even flew a drone over the woods to try to find him. Hughes’ daughter took to Facebook to let the community know he was on the loose. Her post was shared hundreds of times.
Hughes even called the sheriff’s department to let them know there was a wallaby on the loose and that it “wasn’t a joke.”
“I seriously had a wallaby on the loose,” she said.
Despite several Rocko sightings, no one was able to catch him.
“Honestly, I didn’t think he’d ever come back,” Hughes said, noting there are several coyotes in the area and that she had spotted a fox Monday night. “I thought, ‘Oh, no! Is he after Rocko?'”
Hughes and her husband left their back gate open when they turned in for the night.
“Somehow, by God’s miracle, he showed up at 6:30 this morning (Tuesday) at this back door.”
Hughes said he came home with some scratches, but “he’s ok.” She is especially thankful for all of the community’s support and help bringing him home.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done to try to get him back,” she said.
Hughes noted that her gates are going to be “double locked” from now on. “I don’t want to go through this again.”