Pet monkey recovering after left in hot car at Sevierville water park

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A 5-week-old marmoset monkey recovering after it was found inside a car Wednesday at Soaky Mountain Waterpark.

The outside air temperature was about 87 degrees at the time, but a car’s interior temperature in the summer can rise from 85 degrees to 120 degrees with 30 minutes. One of the monkeys was found dead and the other was seriously distressed and dehydrated. It was taken to Appalachian Animal Hospital in Morristown for treatment.

“He’s making some slow progress at this time but he’s not out of the woods yet,” said Dr. Larry Mangum, the head veterinarian at Appalachian Animal Hospital.

Mangum states that this isn’t the first marmoset monkey he’s had in his care, “I have lots of clients that have them and they make really good pets but it takes special care for this particular species.”

Animal experts at Zoo Knoxville say there are certain precautions you need to take before even thinking about owning an exotic pet. “They have real specialized diets, specialized social structures, and that sort of thing. With any animals, you got to look at that and duplicate that under our care, with primates sometimes that’s a little more difficult,” said Phil Colclough with Zoo Knoxville.

This is why they don’t suggest owning one.

“I think when you really dig and do the work and find out what it takes to keep any exotic animal, 99 percent of the time you’re going to see that it’s not something that’s appropriate,” explained Colclough.

As for the surviving 5-week-old marmoset that was found in the car, he will be in the full care of Appalachian Animal Hospital until he recovers. “We are hopeful that he will be able to make it and pull through,” said Dr. Larry Mangum. “Right now he’s making progress and doing well.”

The two people who owned the monkeys are facing charges of animal cruelty. Additional charges are possible and this is an ongoing investigation.

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