Captain Hale and rescued llama Capt. James Hale earned a new nickname, 'Llama Whisperer,' for his role in capturing the escapee with a carrot. (Photo: Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office)

"We can't make this stuff up." That's what the Oconee County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook when it announced that units were responding to reports of a runaway llama on GA 10, a busy loop around Athens, Georgia.

As social media happily kept up with the story, deputies followed the brown-and-white creature as it took its harrowing stroll through busy traffic at the beginning of rush hour. Eventually, they were able to corral the llama near a dumpster behind a fast-food restaurant with help from workers who offered up carrots as a lure.

llama in traffic The llama took a leisurely stroll through traffic, evading cars at the start of rush hour. (Photo: Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office)

Fans on social media, many who had followed the llama's exploits from across the country, were eager to give the llama a home. But deputies were able to track down the llama's owner, who came to pick the wayward critter up and haul him home in a van.

"We do not know at this time whether it just wanted to go for a stroll or if it was concerned about the weather forecast this weekend and was attempting to buy bread and milk," said an amused Chief Deputy Lee Weems in a statement. "I asked, but it refused to answer questions. Perhaps this is because I don't speak Spanish nor any of the native Peruvian languages."

rescued llama in the back of a van The rescued llama heads home in the back of a van. (Photo: Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office)

Mary Jo DiLonardo covers a wide range of topics focused on nature, health, science and anything that helps make the world a better place.

Runaway llama keeps deputies on their toes
A runaway llama keeps sheriff's deputies in Oconee County Georgia busy as they chase him around Athens, Georgia.