SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A routine traffic stop on I-4 in Seminole County, Florida, quickly turned into a circus when a lemur crawled out of the back of a trailer and appeared to start messing with troopers.
Video from the Florida Highway Patrol shows troopers stopping a pickup truck Saturday that was hauling a trailer. The back of the trailer was throwing sparks as it dragged along the highway.
The man behind the wheel of the truck had been driving erratically and hitting other cars moments earlier, troopers said.
When the man finally pulled over, FHP dashcam video showed a lemur peeking out from the top of the trailer to see what was going on. The animal then jumped to the ground, hopped up, down and all around the troopers who were trying to deal with the driver.
"I don't know what it is ... it came from the trailer," one trooper can be heard saying in the video.
The video shows one trooper doing a double take as the lemur, a native of Madagascar, stands on its two hind legs in front of the trooper, who tried to keep an eye on the playful primate until a sergeant arrived on the scene to help.
The driver, Shane Taylor, told troopers the lemur’s name was Miko and to be careful because “she bites,” FHP officials said.
“A lot of the troopers are big animal lovers and one of the goals of this trooper was just to make sure the animal was secured so it didn't get hurt and so it didn't get out onto the road and cause another crash,” Lt. Kim Montes said.
The troopers' attempts to lure the lemur did not go well at first. One grabbed the only food he had in his cruiser, some grapes, to catch Miko. After about 15 minutes, troopers finally pulled her to safety.
Inside the trailer, troopers found more exotic animals: A tortoise, a parrot, a goat, and a punchy wallaby that was slightly injured and shaken up from the melee.
Taylor faces several charges, including DUI and hit and run, troopers said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is caring for the animals, but did not say where they are or what condition they are in.
Commission officials would not confirm whether Taylor is allowed to own the animals because it is an active investigation.
A search of Taylor’s past found he was arrested in Maryland in 2012 on more than 40 counts of animal cruelty charges. The Capital Gazette of Annapolis reported in 2013 that Taylor was given one year of supervised probation and allowed to only have one pet in his home.