'Mystery monkey' makes appearance, 'attacks' neighbor in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - The victim of an overly-familiar rhesus macaque attack on her back and shoulder didn't want to talk about her ordeal, but the woman named Betsy did share how she has lived with near daily contact with him.

Betsy explained how she loves living in a beautiful tucked-into-nature area in south St. Petersburg, but that for the past 18 months, she and her family have been co-existing with the monkey.

"It's came to our windows and it watches us cook and watches us watch TV," said Betsy's daughter, who like Betsy, was not excited about being interviewed about the monkey, but did consent to a brief on-camera chat.

"It's a friendly monkey," I asked as a follow-up.  "Up until the last 48 hours?"

It's still a friendly monkey," she responded "I don't know where this…  I don't know.   I don't study monkeys.  I don't know what the usual behavior is."  

But the man who brought in the traps set outside the home's doors does:

"I personally don't believe that it's as the media saying, 'the monkey attacked the woman.'  I would be more inclined (to believe) that the monkey actually just trusted her enough and jumped on her shoulder," said Freelance Trapper and Wildlife Expert Vernon Yates.  "She freaked.  He freaked.  And of course, that's where you've got the problem."

Which brings us to the cautionary call from the Pinellas Health Department which came today:  "To definitely get rabies shots and just to take those precautions."

And just to stay on the safe side, the family is curtailing its outdoor activities.  Because now, this natural escape for them has become too familiar for an escaped monkey. 

He is most likely on the lam from a troop of Silver Springs simians, and most likely destined for an up-close and intimate encounter with the trapper.

"Problem with it is that I need to get him.  We need to get him out of there."

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