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'I Just Stopped In My Tracks': Tewksbury Family Says There's A Monkey On The Loose

TEWKSBURY (CBS) – A Tewksbury woman said she was stunned when she came across what she believes was a monkey on the loose in town. Animal experts still aren't sure what to make of a reported sighting, but they're hoping a trap and a camera will give them some more information.

Diane Charlton was out for her daily walk on Tuesday when an unusual creature caught her eye on Route 38.

"I saw a monkey and I just stopped in my tracks," she said.

tewksbury monkey
A loose monkey in Tewksbury. (Image Credit: Shawsheen Animal Hospital)

Charlton snapped a picture of the animal, which she said was near the Shawsheen Animal Hospital.

"He just stayed there for a few seconds and just didn't move," said Charlton. "By the time I snapped the picture he was running off."

The next day, Charlton said her son saw the animal right in their back yard. "He looked at me. I looked at him he jumped the fence," said Justin Charlton. "My mother had seen it the day before she took a picture and it's pretty funny she followed her home."

The family called Tewksbury Police, who went to the animal hospital down the road.

"They asked us if we had potentially seen a monkey or lost a monkey. We laughed. We thought they were joking. They said no there's been a monkey sighted on your property," said Dr. Michele Caruso of Shawsheen Animal Hospital

The hospital said they weren't missing a monkey, but they put out a post on Facebook that has since gone viral, warning people to steer clear.

"DO NOT touch the monkey!! Monkeys can be dangerous and can carry Herpes B virus which can be fatal to humans," the post said.

Police used an ATV and drones to search for the monkey but did not spot anything.

The animal control officer put a cage in Charlton's backyard with a bowl of fruit. They also set up a camera hoping to get a shot of it.

Pet monkeys are illegal in Massachusetts and experts like Ed Laquidara say monkeys could have a hard time surviving on their own in the wild.

"I think food could be an issue for it," Laquidara said.

Laquidara owns Animal Adventures in Bolton, and has more rescued dozens of monkeys. WBZ-TV showed him the photo of the possible monkey.

"If that was an arm and it looked like a long arm like a spider monkey. It's possible," Laquidara said.

Diane Charlton said she hopes the animal isn't on the loose much longer.

"I'm concerned for the monkey," she said. "I do hope they catch it."

Like her favorite children's book character, Curious George, 4-year-old Adrianna Gladding is curious. "We gotta find him," Adrianna said. "I don't know where the real one is."

She's put her fuzzy friend George on alert.

"She figures if she put it out the real one might come around," said Adrianna's dad David Gladding.

It seems like everyone on Michael's Road in Tewksbury is on the search for a monkey.

Anyone who spots the animal is asked to call police.

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