An animal usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America, somehow made their way into a home in southwest Miami-Dade, Florida, on Tuesday and gave a 99-year-old woman quite a surprise. “The lady is sound asleep and she feels something on her chest and she slowly wakes up, and realises that there’s an animal curled up sleeping on her chest,” said veterinarian Don Harris.
“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 called her daughter and a friend who were able to lure the mysterious animal out of the attic using a YouTube video.
The animal turned out to be a kinkajou, which looks like a monkey but is actually in the raccoon family.
The exotic animal was taken to an animal hospital in south Miami.
“They’re not predators, they’re very peaceful animals, they’re arboreal, they live in the treetops, they live in the branches,” explained Harris. “They eat fruit and bugs and things like that, they’re pretty docile creatures, unless cornered, and then their teeth are their defence mechanisms.”
Also known as honey bears, kinkajous are rarely seen because they are nocturnal.
But, if startled, Harris said they can be dangerous.
“Someone who was bitten by an animal like this that didn’t get proper medical care could lose a limb,” he said.
Luckily, this kinkajou just wanted a bedtime cuddle.
“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. Special permits are required to have them, so the question is where did this animal come from?”
It was later established that the kinkajou had been a pet in South Florida, and the owner went to pick it up on Wednesday.