Diddy Kong looks a bit like a mini Furby come to life. The 3-year-old monkey stands at just five inches tall — so tiny he gets bathed with a toothbrush. Miami model Gabriella Katia and her boyfriend Matt Crown were obsessed from the moment they saw him at a Fort Lauderdale animal sanctuary.
But they never imagined how much the rest of the world would love him: In the three years since they took the little marmoset in, Diddy Kong's Instagram account has accumulated a million followers. His fans include Cara Delevingne, Snoop Dogg, and Neil Patrick Harris. He's accompanied Katia on the runway during Miami Swim Week and even starred in a Wiz Khalifa music video.
"If you would have told me three years ago that I was going to have a famous pet monkey, I would have never believed it," says Katia, 26, an aspiring Maxim cover girl.
She and Crown adopted Diddy Kong in 2015 when he was a baby. His family had died of pneumonia, she says, and Diddy Kong was sick too. Once he'd been nursed back to health, the couple started the Instagram page to share pictures of the tiny monkey with their friends.
Then came the bath video. On December 12, 2015, Katia uploaded a short video of Diddy Kong closing his eyes while she brushed his little head with a toothbrush. "Pampered but not spoiled," she typed in the caption. "Well, maybe a little."
The post blew up.
"It's probably the most famous monkey video ever," Katia says.
Within a matter of months,
Katia and Crown soon decided Diddy Kong needed a friend. They got a second monkey, this one even smaller. Yeti Kong is just two-and-a-half inches tall, tiny enough to lounge in his owners' hands and wrap around their fingers.
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Now the two monkeys spend all their time cuddling or chasing each other around Katia and Crown's place -— giving their owners plenty of photo ops. Diddy Kong now has an agency — the Dog Agency. He's done one sponsored post for Two Hats beer ("The hint of lime in it is almost as tiny as I am!"), and he and Yeti Kong will be at this year's PetCon alongside other famous pets such as Tuna, of Tuna Melts My Heart.
At the grocery store, Katia gets stopped by people asking if she's Diddy Kong's mom. She's modeled with him on her shoulder and been asked more than once to walk the runway with him.
"They forget about the model and the swimsuit," she jokes. "They're all looking at the monkey."