WARREN (WWJ) – Police say a Warren resident was sharing a home with a slew of exotic animals from around the world — including ring-tailed lemurs.
Loose dogs and cats are one thing; but this homeowner drew attention when an unusual animal — which turned out to be a coati, which is a member of the embers of the raccoon family — got loose in his backyard near Frazho and Mound.
According to officials at the Detroit Zoo, two white-nosed coatis, two ring-tailed lemurs and three fennec foxes – were discovered along with several rabbits and birds that were being kept in small cages in the a garage.
Contrary to earlier reports, there were no aardvarks involved in the rescue.
The animals were removed from the home and turned over to the Zoo.
Eight members of the Detroit Zoological Society’s animal and veterinary staff assessed the animals at the scene and assisted with the process of removing them from the home.
Zoo officials say they are frequently asked to help with the rescue of exotic animals from private owners, pseudo-sanctuaries, roadside zoos and circuses. Past rescues include more than 1,000 exotic animals confiscated from an animal wholesaler in Texas, a polar bear from a tropical circus and lions kept in a junkyard in Kansas.
“The conditions these animals were being kept in were deplorable,” said Elizabeth Arbaugh, DZS curator of mammals in a media release — adding that the animals seem to be in relatively good health, considering the environment from which they came. “There could be some possible health issues; we’ll know more after a complete evaluation.”
Some of the confiscated animals are under quarantine at the Zoo’s Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex as staff works to provide proper health care and healthy, balanced diets appropriate for each species. Others will be transferred to the Michigan Humane Society on Thursday, while permanent placement of the exotic animals is yet to be determined.
There was no immediate word on what penalties the homeowner could face, if any. His name has not been released.