Rocky remains in Virginia Beach; traps set to capture wayward wildcat

Screenshot from Ring security video of Rocky near First Landing State Park [13NewsNow video]

Rocky, the Outer Banks’ infamous runaway serval cat, remains in Virginia Beach after turning up there early last month.

In a public Facebook post, owner Brian Hankins wrote that Rocky had been spotted in the Fort Story area of Virginia Beach several times since turning up on Shore Drive last month — more than five months after his last escape.

This week, a resident in the area of First Landing State Park captured footage of the elusive African serval on his Ring doorbell camera, according to 13NewsNow.

Virginia Beach Animal Control,  noting that Rocky “is a bit infamous in his area,” is working with Hankins to get Rocky home, with several traps set in areas he’s been sighted.

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 noted Rocky “is a domesticated pet, and is accustomed to being around dogs, people and children.”

Rocky at home with the family dog. [Photo courtesy Virginia Beach police]
“He has been out on his own for awhile now and is not likely to come up to people. He will hunt small mammals and birds, and has been known to take a chicken or two,” the city said in a Facebook post.

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.

North Carolina is among a handful of states that doesn’t regulate ownership of many exotic species. Dare County also does not regulate the ownership of serval cats.

But Dare County Manager/Attorney Robert Outten said there are two current ordinances that may apply to Rocky. One requires that a “vicious, fierce or dangerous animal” must be confined or restrained. The second applies to dangerous dog provisions, but uses the word “animal” rather than dog.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at