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Fla. officials warn of fugitive monkey

  |   Jan. 14, 2009 at 5:50 PM
CLEARWATER, Fla., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Florida wildlife officials are warning residents in the Clearwater area to stay away from a wild monkey that is eluding state trappers.

Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Wednesday that the monkey was last seen escaping from a capture attempt by Fish and Wildlife officers Tuesday and warned residents to steer clear if they spot the animal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported Wednesday.

"If you see the monkey, you should stay away from it," Morse said. "When a monkey is on the loose, it's not the most pleasant thing."

He said the monkey, a rhesus macaque, could carry hepatitis and almost certainly lacks manners.

"Monkeys' social behavior can be pretty lewd," Morse said. "They're infamous for throwing feces at things they don't like."

The spokesman said the animal, which is native to Asia, is believed to have escaped from an unlicensed keeper.

"There is no one in the area licensed to have a rhesus macaque," he said. "So where this one came from is up to speculation."

Topics: Gary Morse
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