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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 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
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
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!
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.