NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Monkeys have been spotted in recent days in neighborhoods from Cooper City to North Miami Beach, authorities said Tuesday.
North Miami Beach police said a monkey was spotted Tuesday morning near the King of Diamonds strip club, west of Northeast Sixth Avenue, between 179th and 180th streets.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials were assisting in locating the monkey.
The police response came after a man who was putting in a handrail for a pool spotted what he thought was a raccoon running through the backyard he was working in.
But he said he quickly realized it was actually a monkey.
"He was scared," Ivan Derpino said. "I knocked on her door and I let her know about it. The monkey was in her yard."
"Have you ever seen one before?" Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol asked.
"No!" Derpino said.
Homeowner Winifred Ancrum said she followed Derpino to her backyard where the monkey had been in her tree, but he was already gone by the time she went outside.
For the past several days, residents in the Embassy Lakes community in Cooper City have also seen a monkey hanging around.
According to the Dania Beach Vervet Project, his name is Mikey and he was forced out by another male and has been looking for a new place to live.
"We believe that he was basically kicked out of his social group. A new male showed up and he was displaced, and typically in the wild, males will look for a new social group when that happens," Missy Williams, with the Dania Beach Vervet Project, said.
Experts at the Vervet Project said the monkeys are very good at urban mapping and will climb up into a tree, memorize the landscape and figure out exactly where they want to go.
The vervet monkey, also known simply as vervet, is native to Africa.
It's unclear whether Mikey is the same monkey that was seen Tuesday near King of Diamonds.
FWC officials said people have been feeding a group of the wild monkeys that live in the Dania Beach area.
Authorities warn people to not feed the monkeys or any wild animal and to keep a safe distance away from them.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts about the monkey seen near the strip club is asked to contact the North Miami Beach Police Department.