At a previous lab, our facility had an embedded vivarium near where our core lab was located, technically on the same floor. We were using a large volume of FBS so I would aliquot 2 500 mL bottles of FBS at a time into 20 50 mL conical tubes. We had four biological safety cabinets in our tissue culture room and our security was relatively lax. I would heat inactivate both bottles at the same time, take one into the BSC to aliquot, and leave the other on the counter. I would usually do this late at night right before leaving lab to go home. Meanwhile, there was a cleaning crew who would clean out the cages in the vivarium at about the same time at night.
One night, the cleaning crew forgot to lock the cage for the snow monkeys. Somehow, a snow monkey managed to escape his cage, exit the vivarium and came down the hallway to our core lab. I discovered later that these snow monkeys were part of a study to see how well they could mimic physical actions performed by humans.
I was by myself and had my headphones in, blasting music. Suddenly, I look in the reflection off the glass on the safety cabinet and see a snow monkey looking right at me. I try to stay calm, I'm right in the middle of aliquoting FBS. He starts imitating me. He's watching my fingers pull the trigger on my pipet. I pour FBS into one of the 50 mL conical tubes, I grab another and repeat the same motion. I pause. He grabs the second bottle of FBS off the counter and takes it into the BSC next to mine. I had already laid out 10 conical tubes in that hood. He uses one hand to open the conical tube the same way that I had been doing. He then grabs a serological pipet and attaches it to the pipet. I can't believe what happens next. He takes the cap off the FBS bottle, sticks the pipet into the bottle of FBS, pulls the trigger on the pipet, FBS goes into the 50 mL serological pipet. He then pulls the other trigger and drops it into the tube, exactly how I was doing it a minute earlier. Then he does it again for a second tube, and then a third.
Fortunately, an alarm at the vivarium had gone off, by now animal control had been contacted. Apparently, someone saw the monkey heading down our hallway and called into animal control. Right as the snow monkey had aliquoted the third tube of FBS, animal control burst into our tissue culture room. They carefully took the snow monkey and brought him back to his cage.
To this day, I will never forget the night a snow monkey helped me aliquot FBS.