LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. (WPTV/CNN) - After a Florida couple fed a kinkajou, a mammal native to Central and South America, it wouldn’t leave them alone, ultimately biting and scratching a 37-year-old man.
Michael Litersky, 37, says he and his girlfriend, Gillian Hicks, thought the kinkajou they found on the doorstep July 24 was a lemur, and its innocent-looking eyes drew them in. The two left out some watermelon for the creature to eat.
"We fed it watermelon because we thought it would be friendly,” Hicks said.
But the next morning, as Litersky tried to leave for work, he discovered the kinkajou was back and not taking no for an answer.
“So, I guess it was waiting. It was so hungry for more watermelon,” Hicks said, “and as soon as he opened the door, it just bum-rushed him pretty much.”
The animal bit Litersky on the foot and scratched his calf and shin, as he tried to shoo it out of the house. He ultimately managed to trap it in the bathroom.
"I think it was a tie. I would put my money on the kinkajou next time though,” Hicks joked.
Sheriff’s deputies tried to help, but it was tough going.
"It would make some noise and we heard it. The sheriffs would kind of open the door to see what it was doing, and it was up on the shower curtain. We heard the toilet lid open and shut a few times. It was nuts,” Hicks said.
Finally, the deputies alongside officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and animal control personnel were able to catch the kinkajou. The animal was taken to a licensed FWC facility.
Officials say it’s not uncommon for people to have kinkajous as pets, but you need a special permit. FWC has not located any possible owners with the permit in the area where the animal was found.