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Florida woman wakes to find bizarre raccoon-monkey animal on her chest

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Jan. 27, 2016 at 9:29 AM

MIAMI, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A 99-year-old Florida woman woke up to find a bizarre animal that looks like a cross between a monkey and a raccoon curled up on her chest.

Veterinarians said the Miami woman was sleeping about 2 a.m. Tuesday when she was awakened by a weight on her chest.

"The lady is sound asleep and she feels something on her chest and she slowly wakes up, and realizes that there's an animal curled up sleeping on her chest," veterinarian Don Harris of the South Dade Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center told WFOR-TV. "I don't know, I guess her first impression was it might be a cat, but when they both got a look at each other, they both freaked out. The lady screamed, the kinkajou went into her attic."

The woman's son-in-law, Carlos Aguaras, and friend Cathy Moghari were able to locate the animal in the attic and determined it was a kinkajou, a South American member of the raccoon family that resembles a monkey.

"I start thinking, 'How are we going to get this animal out?' So I Googled kinkajou sounds and found a video," Moghari told WPLG-TV. "And I was holding it up to the ceiling, and we hear a rumbling. And, sure enough, it came out to the opening that we had in the ceiling."

The kinkajou was placed in a cage and brought to Harris, who determined the animal was named Banana and belonged to a local resident.

"No undomesticated wild animal like this would curl up on a woman's chest to go to sleep," Harris told WTVJ-TV.

He said Banana's owner was contacted and planned to pick up the pet Wednesday morning.

Kinkajous, sometimes known as "honey bears," are legal to keep as pets in Florida with a special exotic animal permit.

"Some people keep them as pets, but I don't know really how often they make really good pets," Harris said. "It's not the kind of animal that you can safely cuddle up with. They're very interesting, they're very rare."

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