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Be on the lookout for a brown monkey about 21 inches tall and weighing 15 pounds. Fugitive has whiskers and light brown eyes. Monkey hangs out in treetops and jay walks when travelling on foot.

One wily monkey's ability to elude trappers for more than a year as it traipsed across the Tampa Bay area is drawing legions of curious spectators and adoring fans. The rhesus macaque was last seen Wednesday in St. Petersburg's Lakewood Estates neighborhood, but there have been sightings in Hudson, Temple Terrace, Town 'N Country and Clearwater. Authorities have tried luring him into traps with fruit, grabbing him as he scrambles a few feet away and twice shot him with tranquilizer darts. All to no avail. The monkey can cover vast distances quickly, which explains why it has been seen in three counties and covered hundreds of miles in a year. It is shy and not considered a threat to humans. Still, it's a wild animal and could attack if it feels threatened, officials warn. Trappers are trying to capture the monkey mostly for its own protection.

On the Mystery Monkey's trail

Latest reports:
"You expect to see the birds. You expect to see the squirrels. We sure didn't expect to see a monkey.
Diane Flore, Seminole resident, February 13, 2010
"Monkeys' social behavior can be pretty lewd ... They're infamous for throwing feces at things they don't like."
Gary Morse, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, January 15, 2009
Video: Spring 2012
Mystery Monkey's M.O.
  • Type: Mammal
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average life span in the wild: Four years
  • Size: Head and body, 17.75 to 25 inches; tail, 7.5 to 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.75 to 26.5 pounds
  • Group name: Troop
Rhesus macaques are familiar brown primates with red faces and rears. Rhesus monkeys are Asian, Old World monkeys. Their natural range includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Southeast Asia, and China. A troop of introduced rhesus monkeys now lives in the wild at Silver River State Park in Florida. These intelligent animals can adapt to many habitats, and some can even become accustomed to living in human communities. The rhesus monkey's typical diet includes roots, fruit, seeds, bark, insects and small animals.
Mystery Monkey's Wrap Sheet

Mystery Monkey roams treetops of Tampa Bay eluding capture