A woman was left 'hysterical' after discovering a South American marmoset monkey in her conservatory at her home. 

Animal rescuers were called by the "distressed" homeowner who reported finding a "strange wild animal with a bushy tail" leaping about her property.

Volunteers who attended the scene said they had expected to find a squirrel or a fox  but were left shocked to see a monkey casually sitting on the kitchen countertop.

The team were able to entice the unusual exotic visitor into a cage and back to an animal rescue centre where he has since been named Marcel. 

South Wales Argus: Tiny Marcel gave one home owner a huge shock by sneaking into her kitchenTiny Marcel gave one home owner a huge shock by sneaking into her kitchen (Image: SWNS)

Marcel - who was 5,400 miles away from his native South America in Wolverhampton - is believed to have been a dumped unwanted pet as he is tame and friendly around humans. 

Animal charity Wings and Paws are now trying to find the White Headed marmoset a suitable home after two weeks rehabilitating him back to full strength.  

Volunteer Gemma Warner said: "We had a call from this woman who was in quite a distressed state and a bit hysterical saying she had a wild animal in her conservatory.

"We asked her to describe it so we knew what we might be dealing with and she just said it was small with a bushy tail. 

"So from what she said, we thought it was just a squirrel or maybe a baby fox - but what we didn't expect was to find a marmoset in her kitchen. 

"We were taken aback to say the least and she was very relieved when we finally got him into a cage and out of her house. 

"He was very skinny and hungry but he was clever enough to know he needed to find the humans. 

"We assume he must have been a pet which was sadly dumped or released when the owner no longer wanted him. 

"We're more used to dealing with domestic pets and farmyard animals like dogs, cats and horses so it was certainly a shock to discover a monkey.

"Its lucky we found him because the cold would have killed him if he'd been left on the streets of Wolverhampton.

"It's not their usual habitat as you can imagine." 

South Wales Argus:

Gemma said Marcel liked to sit on volunteers’ laps and groom their hair “in order to make friends” and they had all been won over by the "lovely little chap."

She added: ""He has been with us a couple of weeks now and he is a lovely little chap. 

"He will sit in the palm of your hands, he is very relaxed around humans - hence why he broke into somebody's house and we think he is a pet rather than from a zoo.

"He has been with us a couple of weeks now. We've been feeding him up and he's ready to move on.

“But we don’t want him to become another pet in a cage. We will do what is right for Marcel, whether this is rehoming him or him staying with us."

Gemma said they are now considering where Marcel can live in the longer term and are ideally trying to find another centre that would be well-suited for him.

Wings and Paws, which is based in Wolverhampton but covers the whole of the West Midlands, has tried to find Marcel’s owners but no one has come forward.

She added: "We have been in touch with Monkey World in Dorset but are yet to hear back from them. 

"That would be the best place for him but because he is so tame, we're not sure if he would get bullied by the others if he was integrated. We're not monkey experts so need some advice.

"We checked with the likes of Dudley Zoo as they would be in touch with any local breeders and we can't find a legitimate owner who has lost a pet."

Marmosets are mainly found in the tropical rainforests of South America, with a few  populations in Central America. 

They mostly eat sap and gum from trees, but they also eat the leaves, fruit, seeds and flowers, as well as insects, snails, lizards, frogs and baby birds.

It is legal in the UK to keep them as pets, but the RSPCA advises against it, as they need a warm climate and lots of stimulation.

The animal charity says on its website: "Unfortunately, it's technically legal to own a marmoset in the UK, but we're campaigning against primates as pets and calling for the governments of England and Wales to change this.

"There are a number of reasons why we don't think marmoset monkeys are suitable pets, including:

"Marmosets can live up to 18 years - they're a serious long-term commitment.

"They're wild animals that have very specific welfare needs - it's impossible to provide an environment as complex and rich as the wild for a marmoset kept as a pet - they're tropical animals who require a warm climate.

"Marmosets scent-mark their surroundings so aren't suitable for keeping in a home. 

"They're highly intelligent creatures who get easily bored, which can cause intense stress. 

"They're highly social - in the wild, they create stable social groups, so to keep them alone is cruel and unnatural."