Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In search of companionship, Mystery Monkey finds himself

A young rhesus macaque has lived free for more than a year and has gained fame as the “mystery monkey.” This snapshot was taken at midmorning on Monday near 56th Avenue S and west of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street in St. Petersburg.

Photo by Don McBride

A young rhesus macaque has lived free for more than a year and has gained fame as the “mystery monkey.” This snapshot was taken at midmorning on Monday near 56th Avenue S and west of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay area's elusive mystery monkey appears to have finally found a friend:

It's himself.

Former St. Petersburg Times employee Don McBride saw the young male rhesus macaque, which has been on the loose for more than a year, and photographed the monkey gazing into a mirror in the Pinellas Point area. The monkey was in his neighbor's backyard near 56th Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, McBride said.

"He had been here once before," McBride said. "I saw him in my rear window staring back at me, eating out of the bird feeder."

McBride saw the monkey again on Labor Day. The macaque — who has been seen in various parts of Pasco, Hills­borough and Pinellas counties — appeared to be staring into a cube with mirrors on all sides.

"My neighbors who used to own the house were artists, and they sold their house to artists," McBride said. "They've had that thing in their yard, and we never really knew what it was supposed to be."

The monkey appeared to drawn to it — or rather, to his own reflection in it — Monday morning.

No one really knows where the monkey came from, though theorists think he could have been cast out by a wild troop of macaques in Ocala, or perhaps he was someone's pet. Wildlife experts believe the monkey craves companionship and has been seeking a fellow monkey friend.

His random appearances throughout south Pinellas County neighborhoods have propelled his stardom, capturing the attention of the national media, Comedy Central's Colbert Report and tens of thousands of Facebook fans.

Though once a symbol of free, frolicking monkey fun, the latest captured image suggests that, sadly, the monkey is desperately lonely.

Dr. Agustín Fuentes, a University of Notre Dame anthropology professor who studies monkeys that live in cities, was fascinated when he saw the photo Tuesday.

"There's huge debate about whether or not monkeys know what they're seeing when they look in the mirror," Fuentes said. "Do they know it's themselves? Probably not. Do they know they're looking at some sort of reflection of something? Unclear."

Regardless, he said, "if something looks monkey-ish, he'd be attracted to it."

Fuentes did at least have some good news for monkey fans.

He noted the extra fur on the monkey's upper arms. A consistent color pattern on his back. No splotches on his face.

In other words, Fuentes said, the monkey looks extremely healthy, if not a little forlorn.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

In search of companionship, Mystery Monkey finds himself 09/07/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 7:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Dry, muggy conditions for Tampa Bay before severe storms, possible tornadoes arrive ahead of cold front

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents can expected a muggy, dry day Tuesday ahead of a cold front and a string of severe storms slated to arrive late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Islamic State group claims responsibility for Manchester blast after Ariana Grande concert

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  3. Five recipe ideas for cooking with sparkling wine

    Cooking

    With high school and college graduation season upon us, you might find yourself stocking up on sparkling wine (if you don't normally). Though the obvious choice is to drink it all, you may find yourself with leftovers after all the parties are over. These five recipe ideas will use up that grad-friendly bubbly so …

    Sparkling Wine Risotto takes risotto up a notch.
  4. Florida education news: Budgets, principals, vouchers and more

    Blogs

    VETO TIME? Gov. Rick Scott weighs advice on whether to reject the Legislature's education budget. • Pasco County school officials