Other Common Names: Coatimundi
Genus & Species: Nasua narica
Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Becoming scarce in the United States but common elsewhere.
Southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States; Mexico, Western Columbia, and Ecuador.
Varies from rocky canyons to jungles.
Females and young almost exclusively diurnal; males often also active at night.
Total length 28 to 53 inches, half of which is the tail. Weight 7 to 13 pounds. Males are larger than females.
Normally about 10 years. 14 – 17 years in captivity.
Very omnivorous. Animals include invertebrates and vertebrates, dead (carrion) or alive. When available, fruit is their preferred food.
Fur is a rich brown to reddish color on the back. Chin and chest white; belly yellowish. Fur is not luxurious. Nose is long and distinctive: the coati wiggles it when sniffing out food and uses the sturdy, cartilage-reinforced snout to root for food. Tail has distinct bands and is prehensile at the end. It is often carried over the back for balance. Anal scent glands are present.
Gestation is about 11 weeks. 2 to 7 offspring. Females builds a tree nest in which she cares for young for about 5 weeks.
- Ecology, Adaptations, Etc:
The basic social unit is a female with her offspring, much like a pride of African lions. After the young can leave the nest, the female takes them to join a larger band of other females with young. The bands roost in trees at night when available or in rock crevices. Males are excluded from the social unit when two years old. Successful adult males have territories that include several females. Males join the female bands at mating time. At any time of year, females are dominant over males, in spite of their smaller size. Coatimundi means “lone coati” in the Guarani language, referring to the excluded lone males.
Coatis are very vocal, making a variety of loud sounds. They are easily tamed and frequently kept as pets in some areas of Latin America. They are also sometimes eaten by humans. Their name is pronounced co-ati, coti, or even cooti. Coatis are related to Raccoons, Kinkajous, Lesser Pandas and perhaps to Giant Pandas.