image source, Getty Imagesimage captionThese are zebras and they are in Maryland. Though probably not the ones that escaped

They have been on the loose for more than 10 days now – five zebras bringing disbelieving double-takes to the folk of rural Maryland.

One youngster got a curt response from her mother until they both looked out the window.

The zebras left – no-one is sure how – their private farm enclosure and have since been wandering around for food.

One politician known for her opposition to fences around the nearby US Capitol issued a dry denial of involvement.

In a statement headlined "Norton Denies Responsibility for Setting Zebras Free, Supports Freedom Generally", Washington DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said that when the zebras escaped she was "enjoying quiet time at home with family".

Residents have been given a zebra-spotting number to call, not that they are hard to make out,

Even so, Layla Curling, 10, found it hard to persuade her mother.

"I thought it was a deer for about three seconds, and then I noticed it was actually a zebra. She said I was crazy and stuff. She believed me after we looked out the bathroom window," Layla told local 7 News.

Five zebras were spotted walking behind a house in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The animals have been on the loose since escaping from a nearby farm. https://t.co/9ax0W0d7QN pic.twitter.com/cQYjaM7SEN

— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 10, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But the animals are a headache to the local animal control officers in Prince George county.

Animal services division chief Rodney Taylor said: "'You can't hunt them down. They're just too fast, they run, they won't let you get near them."

He also warned they could kick and bite.

Mr Taylor said a feeding station had been set up, and the zebras had been seen there in the very early hours of the mornings.

It's hoped that when they get comfortable in the surroundings, panels can be put up and the animals will be tranquillised and returned home.

Home is a private farm in Upper Marlboro. Some 39 zebras were brought there legally last month.

How the five broke out is unknown – there did not appear to be any damage to fencing.

Hence perhaps the denial from Congresswoman Holmes.

She said an unnamed "member of the public" had accused her of being responsible.

Her statement said: "My alibi is solid, but given my career of fighting for statehood for the District, which includes years of explaining the importance of having consent of the governed, and given my recent opposition to fences, I can understand why the charge was made."

Fences were put up around the Capitol after the riots there by Donald Trump supporters in January but have since been taken down.

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