SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A routine traffic stop on I-4 quickly turned into a circus when a lemur crawled out of the back of a trailer and appeared to start messing with troopers.
Video from Florida Highway Patrol shows troopers stopping a pickup that was hauling a trailer last Saturday, Dec. 1. The back of the trailer was throwing sparks as it dragged along the highway.
The man behind the wheel of the truck had been driving erratically and hitting other cars moments earlier on SR-417, troopers said.
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When the man finally pulled over on I-4 in Seminole County, dashcam video from FHP shows a lemur peeking its head out the top of the trailer to see what was going on. It then jumped to the ground, hopped up, down and all around the troopers who were trying to deal with the driver.
"I don't know what it is... it came from the trailer," one trooper can be heard saying in the video.
The video shows one trooper doing a double take as the lemur, a native of Madagascar, stands on its two hind legs in front of the trooper, who tried to keep an eye on the playful primate until a sergeant arrives on the scene to help.
FHP said the driver, Shane Taylor, told troopers the lemur’s name is Miko and to be careful because “she bites.”
Taylor also told troopers that he has about 130 animals.
“A lot of the troopers are big animal lovers and one of the goals of this trooper was just to make sure the animal was secured so it didn't get hurt and so it didn't get out onto the road and cause another crash,” said FHP Lt. Kim Montes.
The troopers' attempts to lure the lemur didn't go well at first. One grabbed the only food he had in his cruiser, some grapes, to catch Miko. After about 15 minutes, troopers finally pulled her to safety.
Inside the trailer, troopers found even more exotic animals: A tortoise, a parrot, a goat, and a punchy wallaby that was slightly injured and shaken up from the melee.
Taylor faces several charges, including DUI and hit and run, troopers said. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission is caring for the animals, but did not say where they are or what condition they are in.
FWC also would not say if Taylor is allowed to own the animals because it is an active investigation.
A search of Taylor's past found he was arrested in Maryland in 2012 on more than 40 counts of animal cruelty charges. The Capital Gazette of Annapolis reported in 2013 that Taylor was given one year of supervised probation and allowed to only have one pet in his home.
Channel 9 visited Taylor's home in Cocoa on Friday. From the road, we could see an emu, a lizard, a donkey, a goat and a llama.
A friend of Taylor's told Channel 9 she's not surprised Miko the lemur became the star of the show.
"She is really super, super playful as you guys could see in the video," said Sunshine Taormina. "It seemed sort of comical but it's important to remember that it is real people and real animals involved in the situation."
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