Tennessee animal control officers and volunteer searchers had their hands full on Tuesday after a pet monkey who escaped his home repeatedly evaded capture.
The Capuchin monkey, who was first spotted Monday, may have escaped due to the pending solar eclipse, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The rare astronomical event can affect animal behavior.
Ron Merritt told the News Sentinel that he thought his girlfriend “was going crazy” around 10 a.m. when she first spotted the monkey, named “Pretty Boy Floyd,” on the deck of their North Knoxville home.
“She said, ‘There’s a monkey out here on the deck,’” Merritt told the newspaper. “I said, ‘There’s no way.’ Sure enough, he was out here.”
Merritt called animal control while his girlfriend fed the monkey bananas and other snacks, the News Sentinel reported.
Animal control officers arrived with nets, but Pretty Boy Floyd remained elusive, fleeing into the trees around Merritt’s home. They also attempted to catch the monkey using traditional dog traps, but the animal avoided the cages.
The monkey was spotted again about six hours later when another resident reported a monkey in one of his trees. He was seen again just before 9 p.m. by Jamie Fuller, a Knox County resident who has her own Capuchin monkeys.
“It was on the bottom part of a tree and I was within touching distance of him,” Fuller told the News Sentinel. “The closer I got, the more scared he got.”
Fuller and one of her own monkeys searched for Pretty Boy Floyd into the early morning hours on Tuesday.
Animal control and Knoxville police have also given up looking for the monkey, who is a legal pet. Police officials said the monkey’s owner was not home when the monkey escaped.
The owner, Bill King of Crossville, told WBIR in Knoxville that he was visiting friends in the Washington Pike area when Pretty Boy Floyd got loose. He told the news station he’s hopeful that his pet will return home.
There were initially reports that the Capuchin had been captured late Monday night, but those reports were false, WBIR reported. He remained missing as of Tuesday.
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