99-Year-Old Woman Wakes to Find Exotic Animal on Her Chest | NBC 6 South Florida

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99-Year-Old Woman Wakes to Find Exotic Animal on Her Chest

The kinkajou is usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America.

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    A 99-year-old woman in Miami said she woke up to find an animal on her chest, according to a veterinarian caring for the unusual creature. NBC 6's Stephanie Bertini has the details. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016)

    A 99-year-old woman in Miami said she woke up to find an animal on her chest, according to a veterinarian caring for the unusual creature.

    "I was awaken by a phone call at 2 a.m., which is never good news, and it was from my terrified mother-in-law," said Carlos Aguaras.

    Aguaras said he rushed over, and found the animal that had terrified his mother-in-law. The only other person in the home at the time was her live-in caregiver.

    It was a kinkajou, an animal usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America, said Veterinarian Dr. Don J. Harris, who works for the South Dade Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center.

    Aguaras said the animal was in the attic when he arrived, and they lured it out with food. They got it inside a cage and brought it to Dr. Harris, who said he knew the animal belonged to someone.

    "No undomesticated wild animal like this would curl up on a woman's chest to go to sleep," Dr. Harris explained.

    The animal, whose name is Banana, was being cared for at South Dade Animal Hospital, where the medical center operates, but will be reunited with its owner Wednesday morning.

    There's no word on how the animal got loose, but the woman's family has a message for the owners. "Put it in the hands of the experts, but it's not intended to be a pet in a home," Aguaras said.

    Photo credit: South Dade Animal Hospital

    Kinkajous typically spend most of their time in trees. They have the ability to turn their feet backwards to run easily in either direction, along branches or up tree trunks. Kinkajous also often hang from their tails. According to National Geographic, they are sometimes called "honey bears" because they raid bees' nests by slurping honey from the hive.

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