Mystery monkey captured, headed to animal hospital

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tampa Bay's mystery monkey has finally been caught.

The elusive rhesus macaque was darted and captured Wednesday, according to Vernon Yates, a licensed trapper and local wildlife expert.

Yates said the monkey is being taken to the Animal Hospital of Northwood, in Safety Harbor.

Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Baryl Martin said the monkey will not be euthanized. 

He said the decision was left up to the woman who was bitten as to whether she wanted the monkey tested for rabies. A rabies test requires that the monkey be put down to examine the brain. 

Martin said the woman elected to undergo rabies treatment without the test and asked that the monkey not be put down.

The monkey will be quarantined for 30 days, and then a permanent home will be located for him, Martin said.

Mystery Monkey eludes capture for years

Our partner newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, reported that residents in the Lake Maggiore area had been trying to trap the monkey over the last week.

On Friday, the monkey carefully reached into a cage set to trap him, snatched a banana and slipped away without triggering the trap.

The monkey also evaded the trap a second time. When the door slammed shut behind the monkey, he managed to force it open and escape.

Plans were under way to bring a different kind of bait: A decoy monkey named "Doc." It was not immediately confirmed if "Doc" was a factor in the monkey's capture.

Trappers like Yates had been after the elusive monkey for three years. Attempts to capture it stepped up in the last three weeks after the monkey bit a woman outside her home.