Officials are conducting a large-scale search across a Massachusetts town after a resident reported a monkey in her backyard.
Police arrived at the home in Tewskbury, north of Boston, Monday where the alarmed local showed officers a photo she had snapped that reportedly showed the primate sitting beside a tree.
Tewskbury Lt. James Williams told The Lowell Sun that he couldn’t be sure the animal was a monkey, but said the witness was ‘very convinced’ and ‘stranger things have happened’.
The Tewksbury Police Department and Animal Control subsequently scoured the town, deploying ATVs and drones to try and capture the creature.
No monkey – or any other unusual animal – was located, and the search remains ongoing.
Rumors of a rogue monkey roaming through Tewksbury has captured the imagination of the town’s 31,000 residents.
The local Shawsheen Animal Hospital shared the blurry image the witness took of the ‘monkey’ to its Facebook page Wednesday and it quickly went viral.
Hospital employees warned townspeople to steer clear of the creature should they see it.
‘Typically, they are not dangerous, but if you try to capture it, it could try to bite or scratch and they carry a disease herpes B virus, which can be fatal to humans,’ hospital vet Dr. Michele Caruso stated.
She stressed that the Shawsheen Animal Hospital does not treat monkeys and is baffled by the image.
‘They’re not legal… but if someone did have it as a pet and it escaped, I would imagine they would be fearful to come forward,’ she stated.
Dr. Caruso told The Lowell Sun that it is unlikely the animal escaped from a research facility as ‘the public would be notified’.
She later told 7NEWS Boston that the animal certainly appeared to be a monkey.
As the search remains ongoing, residents are left to speculate about the animal.
‘Could be a Baby Bigfoot,’ one wrote on Facebook.
Another summed up the situation by humorously stating: ‘This is all monkey business!’