• Fruitland Park residents warned not to approach monkeys spotted in neighborhood


    FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - Residents in a Fruitland Park neighborhood are being warned not to approach monkeys that have been spotted several times.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers said they aren’t sure if it’s one or several monkeys.

    Photos: Monkey seen in Fruitland Park neighborhood

    They believe that the monkey or monkeys came from the Silver Springs area, where a larger troop has existed for years.

    Residents in the area believes there’s a male, a female and a baby monkey.

    Penny Testerman said she saw the monkeys plucking oranges off branches and shaking others to the ground. 

    Read: FWC searches for monkey on the loose in Apopka

    She said she knew about the owls, possums and bears near her home, but the primates were a real surprise.

    “I think the little one kind of catapults off the roof,” she said. “He’s just up and down the tees. Zip, zip, zip, so fast you can’t get a picture.”

    Resident Sophia Mowry said she’s seen the monkeys several times.

    “He came out over there and was up in the trees, swinging way up high on the branches. Just like monkeys do,” said Mowry.

    Mowry saw one of them peeping into Testerman’s porch. 

    Read: This history of rhesus macaques in Marion County

    “Looking through the window like a little child would look, back and forth, to see who’s in there,” said Mowry.

    FWC is posted fliers in the neighborhood advising people to stay away from the monkeys.

    “Looks like what we’re going to be doing is going door to door with the fliers, just to let neighbors know what to do in case they do see this monkey,” said FWC’s Greg Workman. “Whatever they do, just do not feed the monkey.”

    Residents in a Fruitland Park neighborhood warned about monkeys
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    Residents in a Fruitland Park neighborhood warned about monkeys
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.

    Officers are worried that people will try to take pictures, but they said that can be dangerous because the monkeys are strong and aggressive.

    Testerman said she had a unique encounter with one of the monkeys.

    “I heard this water dripping down and I looked up, and I saw this tail, and he was actually peeing,” Testerman said. 

    Photos: Monkeys roaming Silver Springs State Park

    Last month, a rhesus macaque was spotted in an Apopka neighborhood, which is about an hour away from Fruitland Park. 

    The Central Florida Zoo’s Deputy Director of Animal Operations, Elena Lamar, said monkeys can carry diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, or herpes. 

    Lamar said it is not safe to take photos of the monkeys and anyone who sees one shouldn't look it straight in the because the animal might see it as a sign of aggression and attack. “They’ll make displays, they’ll show you their teeth that looks like a smile,” said Lamar. “It’s like saying, 'Hey I’ve got these pointy things, don’t mess with me.'”

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