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Sleeping woman screams after finding exotic animal on chest

Posted at 9:30 AM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 09:30:33-05

MIAMI -- Scared and freaked out. Those were the words a South Florida veterinarian used to describe a 99-year-old woman who awoke this week to find an exotic animal sleeping on her chest. The woman woke up Tuesday when she felt something on top of her. She thought it might be a cat, but when she opened her eyes she realized it was clearly not a cat.

"When they both got a look at each other, they both freaked out. The lady screamed, the kinkajou went into her attic," veterinarian Don Harris told WFOR.

A kinkajou, which looks like a monkey but is actually in the raccoon family, is native to Central and South American rain forests,  WFOR reported.

"They’re not predators, they’re very peaceful animals, they’re arboreal, they live in the treetops, they live in the branches," Harris said. "They eat fruit and bugs and things like that, they’re pretty docile creatures, unless cornered, and then their teeth are their defense mechanisms."

The woman's daughter and a friend captured the animal and brought it to a Miami animal hospital where its owner eventually picked it up.

"Some people keep them as pets, but I don’t know really how often they make really good pets," Harris said. “It’s not the kind of animal that you can safely cuddle up with. They’re very interesting, they’re very rare. Special permits are required to have them."