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Kimmel Comments on Tampa’s Mystery Monkey

The mischievous primate has made national headlines, but no one has been able to capture the critter yet

The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay, who first made national headlines right here at TheWrap, was featured in Jimmy Kimmel's monologue Thursday night:

MMOTB has become a much sought-after celebrity in his own right since his March 11 debut on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report":

He has 75,000 fans of his Facebook page who sign on daily to cheer, "Go Monkey go!"

Disgruntled officials, who initially denied claims that they were being outsmarted by a monkey, have recently conceded (on Fox News) that the monkey is indeed a highly evolved, intelligent animal, and that they probably won't catch him until he gets himself trapped inside someone's garage or something:

The first really good photos of the slick simian were provided by Renee Block of Tampa Bay on March 21, when the monkey made his way into her screened patio, took a dip in her pool and snacked on a few of her grapefruits.

"I scrambled to get my camera. He scrambled to get out," Block laughingly told 10 Connects News.

The best video comes from Ray Coffey of St. Pete, taken when the monkey showed up in his backyard to pilfer some bird seed from Coffey's feeder:

Coffey told 10 Connects, "At first I thought it was a cat…" Which turned out to be the comment that Kimmel had fun with in his monologue, showing a picture of a cat, then a monkey, then a monkey in a cat suit….

On April 18, the fun turned a bit serious when Vernon Yates of Wildlife Rescue and Rehab received phone calls and emails threatening him with death if he killed the monkey. Yates assured fans that he didn't want to harm the primate, but to keep him from getting hurt on the streets. He also reminded everyone that monkeys carry tuberculosis, herpes and a variety of other diseases that are communicable to humans. No further threats have been reported against Yates.

Charity organization Suncoast Primates has set up a website in the monkey's honor, where fans can purchase T-shirts and make donations. All proceeds go to help fund the programs of the rescue shelter.

While it is a lot of fun to cheer on MMOTB, monkeys are indeed wild animals and can be extremely dangerous. If he shows up in your backyard, please, do us all a favor and call wildlife officials.

Whatever you do, don't try to pet him. That could have tragic consequences.

Operators of the Facebook site sign on each day, giving the little guy a taunting voice: "Catch me if you can … suckas!"

More when he shows up again…

Heather Ann Angel is a freelancer in the Tampa Bay area, finishing up a journalism degree. First published in the Erie Times at age 16, Angel is the author of numerous children's stories, teen novels and film scripts. Check her out at www.associatedcontent.com/heatherannangel