Missing exotic kinkajou reunited with owner after scaring 99-year-old woman

SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. – The South Florida owner of an exotic kinkajou was reunited with his pet, Wednesday, two days after the rare animal plopped down on a sleeping 99-year-old woman.

WSVN7-Miami’s cameras captured the heartwarming reunion at South Dade Animal Hospital in South Miami. "I got my baby back. I can't believe it. I thought she was gone forever," said Raymond Fernandez, the owner of Banana.

Fernandez said his pet disappeared 10 days ago while his home was being tented.

"I had to move her to my brother's house in a temporary cage, and she figured out a way to get out and open it up," he said. "She's got really good hands."

The rambunctious creature, part of the raccoon family mostly found in Central and South Ameria, then went on an adventure. Fernandez worried she would never return. "I did laps around the block, yelling her name over and over," he said. "I put food out. I put a trap out."

Banana ended up finding her way into an elderly woman's house, giving her quite the wake-up call. "She's sound asleep, she's 99 years old, and said she felt something [touching] her face," said Cathy Moghari, an animal enthusiast who helped catch the runaway kinkajou and get her to safety.

"I guess she thought maybe it was a cat, but once they got a look at each other, classic, both of them screamed, both of them ran," said Dr. Don Harris of the South Dade Animal Hospital. "The lady ran to get help to call her daughter, and the kinkajou ran up into the attic."

Moghari said her elderly friend, who declined to speak on camera, is doing just fine. However, she added, it took quite some wrangling to get the five-pound animal down from the attic where she was hiding.

Cellphone video captured Moghari's son luring Banana out of the attic by playing her a YouTube clip of kinkajou noise. Moghari said she then brought the animal to South Dade Animal Hospital for a checkup. "She was tired, cold, hungry, traumatized," said Harris, who treated Banana.

After eating and resting, the kinkajou is expected to be just fine. "You're a star," Fernandez said as he kissed Banana.

Kinkajous are mostly found in the rainforest. Fernandez has owned Banana, a rescue animal, for the last five years.

Read more stories at WSVN 7 MIAMI.

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