The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay appears to have decided south St. Petersburg suits him just fine.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the elusive Rhesus macaque hangs around a particular household, and his human pals do not want their names nor location made public.
"I first heard from [the husband] about seven months ago," said Times reporter Emily Nipps. "Finally around Christmas time, I started asking, 'well you do you think I could come see this monkey?' "
Now she has visited the family twice, and seen "Mr. Monk" both times.
LINK: Watch the Times' video of the monkey
"It's remarkable to see him around this house. It's kind of surreal," she said. "He looks like he really doesn't belong in the setting that he's in, but he looks comfortable, seems like he's at home."
Nipps said said neighbors are also aware of the exotic presence, and share the primary benefactors' discretion.
"They get a kick out of seeing him, he's not bothering anybody, he's not destroyed anything, so they're happy just letting him live in peace," Nipps said.
According to her, the couple in question read up on Rhesus macaques so they know what to feed him, and they have made no attempts to pet him or let him in their house -- although hearing him running all over the roof is strange.
Wildlife experts fear the food alone will eventually doom the monkey.
"They're really setting him up to die," said Vernon Yates, a wildlife rescuer who has been trying to trap the creature for years. "If he starts trusting people and he goes up to the wrong person and he bites, scratches them, law enforcement will shoot and kill him to be tested."
Yates says he still gets one or two calls a week about the monkey, all in the general area of south St. Petersburg, but in several different neighborhoods.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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