Mannix About Manatee: Mysterious monkey got away from wintry north

January 26, 2014 

Where, oh, where has that mysterious monkey gone now?

You know, the one that has been on the loose in Palmetto during the past week or more.

The critter has sure gotten around, given the numerous sightings we've heard about since then.

Snead Island.

Downtown Palmetto.

Palmetto Pointe.

North Palmetto.

Popi's Place Too. Just kidding.

Literally, this whole escapade is monkey business.

I had to laugh when I read about the exchange between homeowners Sue and Dave Hecker when the couple spotted the 3-foot ape on their property.

"Dave, there's a monkey in our backyard!" the wife yelled.

Sure enough, the husband saw the rascal, too, before it took off.

Seeing is believing.

I saw my share of critters in my backyard when I had my own place in Ware's Creek.

Raccoons. Possums.

One day I looked out my kitchen door window and perched regally on the deck railing just a few feet away was a magnificent red-tailed hawk.

Never saw a monkey, though.

But if I had, I can just imagine how that phone conversation would've gone with my future wife.

Me: "Hey, you're going to get a kick out of this. There's a monkey in my backyard!"

Sherri: "How many beers have you had?"

Perish the thought.

Dave Hecker characterized the simian as a macaque, which, if so, is the world's most widespread primate, indigenous to southeast Asia, Japan, Gibraltar and north Africa.

Whatever it is, what's the monkey doing in Palmetto?

A few theories, farfetched or otherwise:

• Tired of the relentlessly wintry climes up north, it figured what's good for snowbirds is good for a monkey and headed here.

• Realizing that city codes forbid livestock, swine and goats, but make no mention of monkeys, it decided Palmetto might be a welcome place to hang out for awhile.

• The monkey is looking to hook up with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a mascot. The Angels had their

"Rally Monkey," whose manic late-inning presence helped the Halos to the 2000 World Series championship. It worked again in the 2009 playoffs. So why not the resurgent Buccos?

One favorite theory, however, got officially shot down.

The monkey is not on the lam from the Manatee County Fair, where they've performed as jockeys in animal race acts in years past.

"No monkeys here this year," said fair director Dan West.

Not yet, partner.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Call Vin at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

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