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Coatimundi

Updated on July 6, 2012

Those funny little coatimundi busybodies!

If you are looking for information about the funny, inquisitive, intelligent coatimundi, you've come to the right place!

The subjects discussed here are the adaptations, diet, breeding, and coatimundi as pets. Native to South and Central America, these curious creatures can be entertaining and quite a menace! Check out some of the videos to see what I mean.

Thanks to Stephen Walling for this awesome photo.

Adaptations of the Coatimundi

Coatimundi are a member of the raccoon family, sharing the ringed tail and the inquisitive nature. However, the raccoon is nocturnal and the coatimundi is not. The Coatimundi is also called the hog-nosed coon, snookum bear and Brazilian Aardvark. The coatimundi (pronounced ko-WAH-ti-MUN-dee)is a native of Central and South America. Their lifespan is an average of 14 years, they weigh between 7 and 15 pounds, and are excellent tree climbers. They are commonly called coati for short.

The Coatimundi have several adaptations to life in the rainforests. They coatis naturally hold their tails up, which is beneficial when the group needs to stay together in tall grasses and vegetation. The coati has some use of tail movement, somewhat like a cat, but it is not prehensile, so it doesn't help with tree climbing. The coatimundi doesn't need the tail for climbing trees since the long sharp claws and flexible ankles are perfect for this. The legs and claws of the coatimundi are strong enough to hold onto tree limbs with the back feet and eat with the front ones, while the tail is used as a counterbalance.

Thanks to Ole begemann for the lovely picture (upper right). The hyperlinked photo courtesy of Dirk van der Made. Photos used under CC license.

Coatimundi-Credit:Scott Ableman

Coatimundi-Credit:Scott Ableman
Coatimundi-Credit:Scott Ableman

Diet

Coatimundi eat both meat and plants. They have a keen sense of smell which helps them in their hunt for food. Their diet includes things like rodents, lizards, insects, and other small creatures, along with fruits, nuts and eggs.

They use their long flexible nose to root out creatures from under rocks and logs, and have very sharp claws for tearing apart rotting logs. These claws also help the coati climb trees in search of eggs and fruit that have not yet fallen to the ground.

When I lived in Panama, there were always coatimundi rummaging for food in the dumpster of the local Burger King restaurant. (I lived on a military base.) I'm sure it wasn't the best diet for them, but it looks like they couldn't resist take-out every now and then either!

Thanks to x@ray for the picture (upper right).

Cute Little Coati

Social Behavior

The Coatimundi live in groups, made up mostly of females and young, since the males are the loners of the species. It is not uncommon to see groups of 30 running around in parks and places close to the forests.

The male coatimundis usually suffer from behavioral problems because of their solitary lifestyle and aggression from females. The coati also have a quirky habit of dipping their noses in something with a flowery or perfumed aroma and rubbing it on their tails.

Thanks to Ko:(char *)hook for the (upper right) picture. Hyperlinked photo courtesy of Eric T Gunther. Photos used under CC license.

Cute Coati Group

The ankle of the coatimundi can completely reverse allowing them to climb down a tree head first!

White-nosed coati observed on Mt. Hopkins in Southern Arizona

White-nosed coati observed on Mt. Hopkins in Southern Arizona
White-nosed coati observed on Mt. Hopkins in Southern Arizona

These animals are very intelligent and curious. They will investigate anything that intrigues them and try to take things apart out of curiosity. Their hands are strong and nimble and they can figure their way out of many enclosures. They are adorable and you may want to bring one home, but be prepared to have a two year old running around your house constantly! They are considered an exotic animal, and the laws in your area may forbid you to have one, so check this out first.

There are also many issues to consider when taking in a wild animal. The coatimundi are basically social creatures, and prefer being with their own kind. So if you are considering a coatimundi, you should get them in pairs. When it comes to discipline, realize that they are wild creatures, and the techniques you use for your domestic animals will probably not work for the coati. Don't hit them or they WILL get you back! Just remove the object, remove the coati, or put away whatever you can't keep them away from. Put very good child locks on your cabinets, but be prepared for the coati to figure them out. You may have to be creative when it comes to keeping them out of unwanted areas. If you live in a cold climate, don't leave them in the cold. These are tropical animals, and their tails will freeze off quickly if left in the cold. Keep them inside, or provide a good child-proof source of heat for them.

They are wild and you must be prepared to make a good life for them. The perfect outside enclosure is large, completely enclosed and buried several feet in the ground, and includes climbing structures(think playground in a cage). Do as much research on coati as pets as you can. Here is a great link: CentralPets.com

Another great site is Coatimundi where you can buy a coati, but they are usually declawed, so make sure you have no aggressive animals the coati will be at the mercy of.

People vs the Coatimundi...and the winner is!

Breeding

A male coatimundi will join the band of females during February and March, which is the typical breeding season. The male is completely subservient to the females in the group.

When the females within the group have mated, they kick the male out of the group and begin to prepare the nest, which is usually high in the trees. The gestation period of the coati is 75 days, then she gives birth to 3-5 young coatimundi.

Hyperlinked photo courtesy of chesterzoo used under CC license.

The Coati Young

The coatimundi weighs about 3 ounces(150g) at birth. They are blind for 12 days and stay in the nest for several weeks after that. At about 6 weeks, they begin to venture out in the company of their mothers, and practice foraging for food. By the time they are 4 months old, they are weaned from their mothers and begin feeding themselves. They are typically not able to reproduce until they are 2 years old.

Thanks to diver227 for the picture.

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, I too love coatimundis having seen and filmed them in Costa Rica -- and, of course, created a lens on them. Marvelous little creatures! 5*****

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 8 years ago

      We had a coati here in cold Maine. Don't know where he came from. During winter, his tail was frozen and he chewed some off! I don't remember what happened to him though. This was 30 years ago!

    • ELuna profile image

      ELuna 8 years ago

      I have two family members that ARE coatis.

      Aiden my little boy and Samara my little girl. My wife and I have had them for over five years. These will only make good pets if you have endless patience, a great temper (males bite), and can devote plenty of time to them. Also as you stated they are very social, I think it's cruel to have just one.

      Great lens!

      P.S. Aiden & Samara are asleep beside me now I work on my laptop.

      Eric

    • profile image

      spiritartist 8 years ago

      Wow, what a neat critter!! 5*'s and I'm a new fan!

      Thanks for your nice comments about my sketching lens!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      Great lens; never knew they existed. By the way I'm also completely subservient to the female species as well.

    • unsinkablewoman profile image

      unsinkablewoman 8 years ago

      I Loved This lens I enjoy most anything Fun But Animals Are a Big Favorite Of Mine

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 8 years ago

      Never heard of a coatimundi before now! You've done a great job of showing me one.

      Blessed by a Squid Angel today! :)

      Colleen ~ www.squidoo.com/squid-angel

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Nice lens and well presented. You have done a great job

    • profile image

      pixie_styx17 8 years ago

      awwwwww, love these things! At this animal wildlife reservation place near my home they have a few of these, they're so sweet!

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 8 years ago

      Very cute little creatures. I watched the video of the mom and her 2 boys feed them alongside a road in Costa Rica. Remarkably tame they are. 5 stars for you.

    • profile image

      dtbs 8 years ago

      interesting lens! thanks for sharing this info! please check mine out at----------------> Kava Kava.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      I like this animal. Cute. Great lens on it. 5*

    • timthom1 profile image

      timthom1 8 years ago

      i like animals they are fun to watch and learn from

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I've never seen these little guys 'in person' but I watched a National Geographic film production on them. They are truly fascinating as, your lens. 5*s, favored, fan and lensrolled to LaraineRose who loves all little animals.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      annetteghallowe1 8 years ago

      These guys are so cute! My brother is moving to Panama in 2 weeks. Maybe I will have a chance to see them in person. 5* for the great information

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      awww there so cuteeee

    • profile image

      Beas 8 years ago

      Hi Debra, thx for the compliments on my lens.

      I had never heard of the Coatimundi, until I saw your nice lens :) like those furry little beasts

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I am getting a fine education thanks to Debra. It sounds like a rough life for the male getting kicked out after mating.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very interesting and very cute! Thanks!

    • solarstories lm profile image

      solarstories lm 8 years ago

      Fascinating! I love these little guys.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      we fond one in the back yaerd it was so cool

    • profile image

      Dawn193 8 years ago

      What memories this brings back! I grew up in Panama and wrote 2 lenses about Panama so this was really great!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This was so very interesting. I had never heard of a coatimundi. I don't know where I have been but it wasn't in Panama. Wow, I learned a lot. I am going to have to think long and hard about their ankles.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      It was nice to know what I signed up for... i work in a vet clinic, and have never been around a coati. Today a woman brought her pet coati in because it hasn't been eating or drinkinf ro the last few days. I didn't want to leave it at the clinic alone overnight, so I volunteered to bring it home with me to do it's treatments. I've been doing research since we got home, and I found all of the basic facts, which gave me some ideas on coaxing it to eat... She has eaten a few grapes and some banana, and that enticed her to drink. Already we are making headway in her recovery. What I liked most about your lense was the information on their personalities. Everything else that I've read has been very basic and bland. Thanx for letting me know what to expect when she starts feeling better...lol

    • profile image

      Tennis-Storehouse 8 years ago

      I learned something today :)

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      I'd never heard of the Coatimundi until this; what a fascinating little guy (reversible ankles - how cool is that?? :o) 5* for some great information and awesome photos. Thanks!

      Http://www.Squidoo.com/iWantOne

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      I first saw coatimundes in Costa Rica while visiting a Rincon de la Vieja. They walk in single file and remind me a lot of raccoons.

      What a wonderful lens you have created about these adorable creatures.

    • Beaman LM profile image

      Beaman LM 8 years ago

      I have never heard of this animal. What a fascinating creature and above all, a super lens. The wrist turning part was especially intriguing.

    • profile image

      Medicinemanwriting1 8 years ago

      Thanks for this phenomenal lens. I have a strong interest in all sorts of animals. This was very informative and extremely interesting. Loved the photos. Again thanks for this fantastic lens.

    • profile image

      jipock 8 years ago

      I have never heard of these, but they are fascinating! Great Lens! 5*****

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Squidoo love is so important. I do not remember getting any from you, but that's OK! - I love this lens and I love you! :) Susie

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I learned several new things from your lens, thanks for sharing. 5*s.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

      I love these little animals You have done such a great job on this lens. Thanks so much ***** to you

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      They're adorable, one can't help but smile when looking at them.

    • Sarunas profile image

      Sarunas 8 years ago

      Oh. What a great and informative lens :)

      5* from me. Well Done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This stuff really did help me with a research paper i had to do on the coati!!!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Delightful lens - we just love Coatis. SquidAngel Blessings for you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I had heard of but never seen one till yesterday. Hiking through Hackberry Creek in Devils Canyon located outside of Superior, AZ. I never knew much about them except for that they can be aggressive. Saw pack of a dozen or so. Looked like most of them were really young like maybe the females had just introduced them to pack. Once our presence was known they made their way up the cliffside in one following the other. Pretty cool animal A& thanks too your sit I learned a lot more about them.

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      inkserotica 7 years ago

      So worthy of a blessing by a passing Angel :) and, of course, 5*!

    • EelKat13 profile image

      EelKat13 7 years ago

      I had one of these as a pet back in the 1970s - we found him in the woods behind our house (in Maine, USA). No one around here knew what it was and we had a hell of a time finding out what he was or how he ended up here in Maine. Near as we could tell some one had had him as a pet and brought him back from South America with them, than abandoned him and let him go free. He was the first of many strange and non native animals I have found in the woods behind my house over the past 30 years. We've yet to figure out how any of them got there.

      ~*angel blessed*~

    • EelKat13 profile image

      EelKat13 7 years ago

      ACK! - ran out of room in the last comment :( - the rest of it was this:

      though it should be noted that a zoo was once in this spot many, many, many years ago and it is assumed that these strange animals (which have included Wolverine, monkeys, lemurs, wild boar, giant tropical turtles, birds native to the Amazon rain forest, and of course Etiole himself - http://www.squidoo.com/amphibious-aliens -) were once on display in the zoo and set free in the 1960s when the zoo shut down, So we think that's how the coati ended up in our yard all those years ago.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      you can see these cute curious animals in Mazatlan Mexico on Deer Island, they are wild and come down to the beach looking for food scraps, so bring the camera !

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for this great lens 5*****

    • profile image

      Jewelia 7 years ago

      Wow I remember them being much cuter, now they look kinda ugly, lol.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I just received a photo of my "adopted" pet who lives at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River, New Jersey. Could not recognize the critter at first; looks like a cross between an anteater and a racoon. Coati's are really cute and entertaining! Glad the Park chose "Russell" for me to sponsor.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      thanks for all that info.. Just been to Mexico and we had a few in the hotel grounds, my family have never seen this animal before so found you're site great to read. Thanks again Michelle

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Remember seeing these at the zoo, at close quarters, in an educational chat. The man said they were so curious, if you had your mouth open, they would poke there nose in to see what was there. Maybe he wanted to keep us quiet!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Oh my goodness! I remember feeding these little guys from my hand when I lived in Panama! I was a little girl and wanted to bring one home and my parents said no :) HAHA! Thank you for the information because now I can share with my family and friends who have no idea what I am talking about! HaHa! :)

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      We live on the island of Guanaja, Bay Islands, Honduras, and took on a "pet sitting" job to take care of a coati mundi a year ago. It was to last 2 months. Seven months later the owner came

      "home" and wanted our guy back. NO WAY! He had become a part of our family, and we could not let him go back to living in a small cage for tourists' curiosity. I like to describe them as 2 year old triplets on a sugar high. We love our Scooter. Can't imagine life without him. But, anyone considering the "cute" guys for adoption should befriend a wild racoon first and see how that goes. They are smart, aggressive, social, lovable, and did I say smart. But Scooter gives me the best hugs I have ever had!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Again you have totally fascinated me! I especially love how you give precautions about having wild animals as pets and give specific directions about the requirements of keeping them in a healthy state. These guys would take a serious commitment for sure. Beautifully done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Yes, I remember visiting a long time ago and couldn't resist another visit, I had forgotten so much!

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great information. I saw one of these at the zoo. The keeper held it quite close to us and said they were very inquisitive and would pop their nose in our mouth if he didn't stop them!! That kept us quiet. Blessed by a squid angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      how much for a moutaian codi

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 6 years ago from Philippines

      Yes I enjoyed my stay. Getting to love these animals by the way you presented them with all the detailed information and images. Thank you very much.

    • Kyetsu profile image

      Kyetsu 5 years ago

      I LOVE the coatimundi! Believe it or not, I had a graphic novel series I was working on years and years ago, where all the characters were anthropomorphic animals, and one of the main characters was...yes...a coatimundi! It was the most random species for me to add! =3

      And now that i'm reading this lens, I really wanna go back to working on that series...

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      They're funny little creatures, aren't they? Adorable. :) Great lens!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We have lived in Costa Rica for 19 years and where we live close to Atenas and the Rio Grande river, many live. Today we were out by our shop and we heard our dogs barking at something very agerssively and then we saw the Coati she was very thin and had three places open with puss visible and she was limping, we put our dog's in the garage and got some food and she came for it immediately. Within one hour she was eating from my sons hand and would come immediately when called. We called Zoo Ave, Ministerio de Minas, and a humane society but no one would come for the animal, finnaly I called Francis Jones of www.lighthouseanimal rescue .com and she and her husband Bruce came within 30 minutes, we called the Coati and put food in the air transport cage and she went right in ate the food and laid down like she was home. I suggested that she be injected with antibiotics and worm medicine and given lots of food and water and the Joneses agreed. These people really love animals and were just wonderful. We will miss the Coati but our dogs would have killed her as she was to badly wounded and sick to fight them off.

      The Schroeders

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      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      You introduced me to an entirely new animal today, and in the most charming way. How interesting that their ankles have 360 rotation. Their mating practice is especially intriguing. Wonderful page! Well-written.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      P.S. It's such a good lens, I spotlighted in the Squidu forum. I think this will take you there, if you want to see the post: http://squidu.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=634034#p...

    • profile image

      pickled_cabbage 5 years ago

      Beautiful - Coati are wonderful animals. I've loved them ever since I saw a documentary on them many years ago :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another new thing for me...I have not heard of coatimundi before.

    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 5 years ago

      How gorgeous.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      can a coati attack and kill a poisonous snake?

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Wow, and I thought racoons were something. Great lens and I learned lots.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      They sure are interesting little guys.. love them. Angel blessed lens.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have two pet coatimundi and a pet raccoon. The coatis are very loving pets, the raccoon is fun and pretty but not near as loving. They have their own room with a 16foot by 8 foot two story boat constructed in it. I have painted the walls of their room with an amazon forest scene. I loved your website. I have never seen coati in the wild

    • Edwardjames81 profile image

      Edwardjames81 5 years ago

      What a strange but lovely looking little creature. A nice lens here

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      This is a terrific article! I had never heard of these creatures before a blogger buddy of mine posted a photo and her link to the info was this lens! Very cool, I thought! I'm Squid liking thispage and blessing it, too!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Awesome!! So glad there are people out there that care enough.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 5 years ago from London, England

      Great lens. I have only seen these cute creatures in Brazil.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I found one on craigslist for sale and I bought him and now he is mine! And I live in Texas!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I would like to see pictures of the room

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      i want one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very cool and informational

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, Debra! Interesting lens. I have something in common with the coati...I love Burger King, too!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for a very informative page about the coatimundis !!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      What an interesting critter! Enjoyed learning about it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      hi

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      they are so cool looking, would much rather see them in the wild...

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      Gabbzooks 5 years ago

      Love this! Coatis are cool!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Have been living in Mexico for some years now, living up the mountains with direct access to the nature. We have a family of coatis around 20 individuals in this area. They are really interesting and amazing animals. They jump around the trees and are naughty like monkeys. They do not have fear of humans, they are very curious and have no problem coming very close to you.

      Well, they also like to dig in the garden after a rain, and believe me, 20 of these can make quite some damage in a very short time. It is their area, so we just need to accept that this is how it is.

      I would NOT recommend anyone to have these as pets, they are super active, very intelligent, and they can come basically everywhere. Prepare for turn your home into a disaster :)

    • profile image

      mewsie82 4 years ago

      loved it fantastic lens and full of great info

    • profile image

      antoniow 4 years ago

      Very nice lens well done! Squidlike

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was horseback riding today in Gardner Canyon near Patagonia, AZ and sighted beautiful gold colored ring tailed coatimundi...Is this normal to see this animal in this area?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Well they have just shown up on my family's ranch by Pueblo, Colorado which is in SE Colorado. Just thought it was interesting that they are moving here.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, just below Cherry Creek Campground in the Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico, two adult coatimundis followed by 8 little ones, maybe 8-12 weeks old, ran across the road in front of me. Quite a sight.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes.

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Great info thanks...

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a dog groomer/ vet tech of exoticanimals there is a pet store in miami selling a caotie very skinny and never has water ...they get very defensive when told almost physical when told...i am calling aspca to report but if anyone has other resources please let me know...the place is at the flea market on 79th in miami booth # e 99 .my gmail is sonya byrum@gmail.com if u know any more info that can help..they feed her dog food and NOTHING ELSE...SHE IS SO THIN...HELP ME SAVE HER!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: My husband and I saw a coatimundi up Gardner Canyon the weekend before Thanksgiving, 2012. Wonderful to see.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: i think the ASPCA is the best choice

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: can a coati and a raccoon breed

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      We have a question, do coatimundi'si facial features change as they age, coloring, etc.? Thanks.

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      beth-boesen 3 years ago

      Saw 2 Coati at Canyon Lake Az on Sept. 30, 2013. The interesting thing that makes me suspect their population in the area must have increased, is that, we spotted 1 on one side of the lake and the other on the opposite side. Since both were solo it also makes me think they were males off on their own. We observed them independently for quite awhile and saw no sign of others in a group. We've never seen them here before.

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      joanna-briggsharvey 3 years ago

      Can two different colored coati breed and live together?

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