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Latest monkey sighting: eating from St. Petersburg bird feeder

ST. PETERSBURG — There appears to have been another sighting of the wild monkey that has captivated the Tampa Bay area for the past year.

There's video footage of the monkey this time, too.

Rick Coffey reported spotting the monkey Saturday in his back yard on Serpentine Drive in the Pinellas Point neighborhood at the southern tip of St. Petersburg.

He said the monkey appeared to be hungry and scooped mouthfuls of seed out of a bird feeder. After it darted away, it came back 45 minutes later for more seed. Before Coffey got a good look at the creature, he at first thought it might be a cat.

Officials believe the monkey is a young male rhesus macaque. No one is sure where it came from, but wildlife officials believe it could be an abandoned pet, or could have gotten separated from a group of wild monkeys in a state park near Ocala.

Officials with Florida Fish and Wildlife have been trying to catch the monkey for more than a year. Sightings have been reported in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties — including several weeks ago in the Pinellas Point area.

Wildlife experts caution that residents should be careful when near the monkey, which could be carrying diseases like hepatitis B.

The monkey has become famous, with thousands of followers on Facebook and a mention on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

The mystery monkey paid two visits to a yard on Serpentine Drive in the Pinellas Point neighborhood on Saturday.

RICK COFFEY | Special to the Times

The mystery monkey paid two visits to a yard on Serpentine Drive in the Pinellas Point neighborhood on Saturday.

Latest monkey sighting: eating from St. Petersburg bird feeder 04/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:19am]
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