Mystery monkey settles down
ST. PETERSBURG — The monkey is somewhere up in the vine-laced trees, or perhaps on the roof looking out for predators. Either way, the woman in the house knows how to reach him.
She whistles a few short notes. “Monk,” she calls.
Within seconds, the monkey comes crab-crawling down a post, climbs over a stack of firewood and walks over to the middle of the porch. He blinks, looks around and sits calmly as four people, including a Tampa Bay Times reporter, watch through a glass wall.
He’s a famous fellow who has 82,000 fans on his Facebook page where he has – until now – been known as the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay as he’s bounced around on his own throughout SW Florida for four years. He even had a National Geographic television special.
But those days are over. Six months ago, he found a spot he liked, settled down and joined a family. While they hadn’t invited him, they welcomed him. Apparently some wildlife officials (who appear to have nothing else to do) are distressed about this. But the reporter won’t give out any names or addresses and the retired couple on whose property Mr. Monk has settled, aren’t telling either.
The monkey is gentle with the sickly, old cat, sometimes picking her up and moving her to a sunnier spot on the patio. He loves Oreo cookies, twisting the tops off and licking the frosting.
He tolerates squirrels and raccoons who come after his fruit and nut dinners, softly backhanding them if they get too close.
“If he hears any rustle in the woods he will stare and grunt at it,” the husband said. “Then run over and up a tree to get a good look and make sure we aren’t being attacked by a lizard or turtle or butterfly.”
Mr. Monk, the husband said, has a home with the family for as long as he wishes.
Now isn’t that a nice news story?