Report but don't approach Williston's speedy Patas monkey
Officials believe it may have escaped its owner's home.
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:04 a.m.
There has been another monkey sighting in the Williston area, and state wildlife officials are wondering if the animal is the pet monkey that escaped from its Ocala-area owner more than a year ago.
A Patas monkey escaped from a home in northwest Marion County in the area of County Road 335 during the summer of 2009, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials. Over the next few months, the monkey was roaming between its owner's home and County Road 236 in Micanopy.
Recently, the agency has been receiving reports about a Patas monkey being seen in a wooded area near Williston between County Road 318 and 217th Court.
"When the cold weather hit last year we thought it may have killed him, but if this is the same monkey, he apparently figured out how to survive the winter," said FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker. "We don't know if someone took him in or if maybe this is a different monkey completely."
Parker said there have not been any additional reports of missing Patas monkeys, but said it also was possible that one escaped from another location and no one had reported the escape.
Whether the monkey is the same Patas that escaped in 2009 or not, wildlife experts are urging anyone who sees the creature to avoid approaching or feeding it.
"These monkeys are called the ‘greyhounds' of the primate world," said Maj. Lee Beach, the FWC regional commander. "They can run about 35 mph. If we were able to get a dart in the animal, we could lose it in the woods."
According to FWC, the Patas monkeys are ground-dwellers. Excluding their tail, they can grow to three feet tall and weigh up to 30 pounds at maturity with long, slender bodies, limbs, feet and hands. Their faces are dark with white mustaches and beards. They also have 2-inch-long canine teeth.
Beach said the combination of speed and teeth could result is someone being seriously injured.
Officials are asking the public to report sightings of this monkey to the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922, or call the FWC regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.
"We're also asking for reports if this animal is found dead, so we can close this investigation," Beach said.