Elderly woman finds kinkajou in southwest Miami-Dade home

Woman wakes up to critter lying on chest

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A kinkajou, which is normally found in rain forests in South America, was discovered in the attic of a southwest Miami-Dade County home during the weekend.

"This 99-year-old woman is sound asleep, she feels something, she wakes up and this kinkajou -- this furry, big animal -- is curled up asleep on her chest," Dr. Don Harris of South Dade Animal Hospital said.

Harris said the woman and animal were both startled, and the kinkajou eventually made its way to the attic.

Cathy Moghari was able to help lure the kinkajou out.

"I start thinking, 'How are we going to get this animal out?' So I googled kinkajou sounds and found a video," Moghari said. "And I was holding it up to the ceiling, and we hear a rumbling. And, sure enough, it came out to the opening that we had in the ceiling."

Kinkajous are nocturnal animals that rarely are seen in the day and are native to Central and South America.

However, special permits allow people in the U.S. to keep the animal as exotic pets, and this one likely slipped out from its owner sometime over the past few weeks.

"This particular animal is kind of a cross between a raccoon and a monkey," Harris said. "It's in the raccoon family, so they're very dangerous."

Moghari said she picked up the kinkajou, took it home for the night and took it to the veterinarian Tuesday morning. Moghari said she wasn't scared by the animal.

No, but I have respect for it," she said.


About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.