It turns out even primates can’t resist a good bargain.
A North York Ikea store attracted an unusual customer Sunday afternoon, when a tiny monkey dressed in a fitted faux shearling coat and diapers appeared in the store’s upper parking garage around 2 p.m.
“It was just running around screaming,” said shopper Bronwyn Page. “There was a crowd of us around it and it seemed really scared and agitated.”
Security guards at the Ikea around Leslie St. and Highway 401 eventually cornered the animal in the elevator vestibule and called police. Animal Services soon arrived at the store to pick up the stylish bargain-hunter.
“It was really cute,” said Lisa Lin, another shopper. “It was smaller than a cat.”
But if the monkey had hoped to stock up on Billy bookcases or Swedish meatballs, its plans were thwarted. The diminutive shopper never made it into the store, said manager Alvaro Carmona.
No one was hurt in the incident, which lasted no more than half an hour, he added.
Animal Services identified the monkey as a rhesus macaque, an Asian species that is prohibited in Ontario. The monkeys are known for their ability to live in diverse habitats – although Canadian winters obviously require a warm coat.
The owner of the primate turned himself in to Animal Services just after 5 p.m. He was charged with owning a prohibited animal, an offence that carries a $200 fine.
The seven-month-old monkey somehow managed to escape his owner’s car in the Ikea parking lot, said animal control officer David Behan.
Behan said the owner was cooperative in signing over the primate to Animal Services. The owner’s name has not been released.
As for the half-metre tall simian, he is in good health and will likely be transferred to a sanctuary as soon as possible.
“The monkey was in a bit of shock, but it’s calmed down now that we’ve been feeding it some grapes,” another animal services representative said.
“At least it’s warm and safe now … It tried to keep warm in the coat the best that an animal of its size could.”
The monkey-business captivated the Twitterverse Sunday afternoon and attracted coverage in Gawker and the Atlantic Wire.
Two parody accounts, @IkeaMonkey and @Ikea_Monkey appeared within hours. “The Ikea monkey might have better luck assembling furniture than I ever had,” said one tweeter.
“Draft Ikea monkey for mayor,” tweeted another, with the monkey photoshopped in front of City Hall.