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Kinkajou

Updated on April 6, 2012

What is a Kinkajou?

Sometimes called the Honey Bear or Sugar Bear, the Kinkajou is a wonderful little rainforest animal that is unfortunately on the endangered species list. If you ever wondered what a Kinkajou is, read on! Belonging to a family that includes raccoons, you can learn about this creature's behavior, diet, and more.

If you are interested in what it is like to have one as a pet, you can find out about that here also, but these are wild animals so if that is your plan, make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure you have the proper license or permission in your area, as well as the facilities and knowledge to give these beautiful animals a wonderful life.

The Kinkajou is about the size of your common house cat, and weighs about 5 pounds. The Kinkajou tail is fully prehensile and is about the same length as it's body. The Kinkajou has a beautiful golden brown coat on top of a grey undercoat. The Kinkajou also has a long tongue, usually around 5 inches long, which it uses to lick nectar from flowers. The Kinkajou has a short snout and prominent eyes, but have poor vision.

The Kinkajou is a member of the Procyonidae family which includes the raccoon and the coatimundi. The Kinkajou is native to Cnatral and South America and is strictly nocturnal. Some people mistake them for monkeys when they are seen in their natural habitats, but they are not primates.

The Kinkajou Diet

The Kinkajou diet consists of mostly tropical fruits like bananas, mango, and pineapple, they also eat small insects, and the occasional bird and egg. The Kinkajou enjoy flower nectar and sometimes will even eat the whole flower. Because of the Kinkajou's love of nectar, they are very effective pollinators, transferring the pollen from flower to flower. The Kinkajou will also raid a bee hive for the honey, (hence the nicknames: sugar bear and honey bear).

The Kinkajou is extremely nocturnal, and sleeps all day. They are most active in the evenings and right before dawn. They also do not like sudden movements, and if startled, they may instinctively react with a deep bite. The Kinkajou are basically loners when looking for food, although they have been seen in groups from time to time, but they sleep in small family units, probably for greater protection from preditors. The Kinkajou can be rather playful and docile when it feels secure in it's environment. The Kinkajou communicate through a variety of vocalizations like low chirps, yelps, whistles, and even loud shrill shrieks when treatened, startled, or protecting food.

A Spanish nickname for the Kinkajou is La Llorona, because of the shrill vocalization a Kinkajou can make, which resembles a screaming woman.

La Llorona is the Mexican ghost story of a woman who drowned her children, and spends the afterlife loudy weeping while searching for them.

The life span of a Kinkajou is about 23 years, but Sugar Bear, a Kinkajou from the Honolulu Zoo, lived to the grand old age of 40.

The Female Kinkajou usually has just one offspring at a time, although twins are not unheard of. The gestation period is around 115 days. The baby is blind for the first month, with sight gradually improving over the next few weeks. By the second month, the baby kinkajou can already hang by it's tail.

The Kinkajou Tongue

The Kinkajou Tongue
The Kinkajou Tongue

Some people keep Kinkajou as pets. If you are interested in owning a Kinkajou, you must first realize that they are wild animals, and as such, cannot be trained the way a domestic animal can. The Kinkajou will stay awake all night, so if you are the typical person who sleeps at night, this is not the right pet for you. The Kinkajou are very active at night and cannot be "day trained" effectively.

The Kinkajou is also food aggressive, and will protect it's territory. The Kinkajou is inquisitive, and will tear anything apart out of curiosity. They have very nimble fingers, and can figure their way into or out of many enclosures.

The Kinkajou's cage must be large with a top to prevent escape. The larger the cage, the better. The cage must be large enough to grow a small tree for the Kinkajou to climb, with built in ledges and ropes. Remember, they live almost all their lives in the trees in their natural environment, so it is inhumane to deprive them of this. If you do not have the capacity for a very large cage, you should not own one of these creatures. There are many zoos overflowing with exotic animals that people have released because they overestimated their ability to care for a wild creature.

Most states and countries have laws forbidding the ownership of wild animals, so the first step is to find out if this is legal in your area. Secondly, make sure you have access to a veterinarian who can treat your Kinkajou.

Feed you Kinkajou what they eat in the wild (see diet section above). Never give them table food, especially dairy, chocolate, or anything caffinated. The Kinkajou do not digest citrus fruits well, and they also have a problem with strawberries, so keep those away as well. Make sure you feed your Kinkajou in an area where they can make a mess. They are sloppy and playful eaters!

The Kinkajou lifespan is 20-25 years, but have been known to live longer in well protected areas, such as zoos or natural reserves.

For more information on the Kinkajou, go to Central Pets.

Like the Kinkajou? Buy Kinkajou products here!

What are your thoughts on the Kinkajou?

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    • profile image

      Tiger6513 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Maggie. I happen to know a fair bit about these little fellas and some of the information is good here, but they are Not endangered. They are of least concern (LC). Quote from iucnredlist.com "This species is listed as Least Concern since it has a wide distribution range, is adaptable to a degree of human land-use change and there is no evidence that it is declining at a rate sufficient to warrant listing at this time"

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Its so very sad that they are being stolen from their homes!!! Can't bear it, so very cruel!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      where do you get them

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 5 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      I'm fascinated by Kinkajous! I always spend the majority of my time at the zoo watching them! My favorite wild animals!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this project is HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love and i want you cutie

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 5 years ago

      They're sweet and energetic, and definitely a handful, if one was keeping them as a pet. I'd never heard of the kinkajou before I read your lens; thanks the great information and the great videos too. I've featured your lens on mine http://www.squidoo.com/zoo-with-paper-animals-for-... - under the "K" section. Thanks for sharing!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      cute and interesting

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @flicker lm: They are sooo Cute :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      What an amazing animal. I don't think I've ever seen a kinkajou. It looks cute but you are quite right, nobody should own these as pets except maybe zoologists who are keeping them for a genuine reason.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kinkajous are not actually endangered (source: iucnredlist.com), but the article is pretty cool. Good categories and pics are wonderful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: They dont like you either! :-D

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      these litta creatures are so darn cute!!:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Held a Kinkajou today! :-) Beautiful animals..

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Really enjoyed the National Geographic video!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      hate them and i eat them for dinner

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Blessing you sugar bear lens. Very interesting. Never seen this creature before.

    • HeavenBlessedMe profile image

      HeavenBlessedMe 6 years ago

      I have loved Kinkajou's for a long time, and it makes my heart said when I hear that they or any animal is endangered. Thank you for a great lens. Have a blessed day!

    • Northbright profile image

      Norbert Isles 6 years ago from Philippines

      Very interesting; first time I read about these animals and learned a great deal. Thank you very much.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never heard of the Kinkajou, so I learned something new today, thanks for your lens! You did a great job of providing enough information to make this lens interesting. I was wondering if people kept them as pets and you answered that question here too. Happy New Year! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      These little guys are the cutest! I totally enjoyed learning about them and thank you for including the videos to see them in action.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      Amazing, I had never heard of this. In many ways it reminds me of my Pookie which actually made a wonderful pet. Blessed by an Angel.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      I have been around Honey Bears and I wouldn't recommend taking one in as a pet. Their claws are extremely long and can be quite dangerous. The Honey Bears I have been around are not aggressive, but they do latch on to your arms like they would a tree branch. They are so passive, otherwise, that they are actually very cute, but really should be left in the wilds.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      i WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT'S THE FRUIT IN THE TREE THAT THE KINKAJOU IS EATING.

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      Jewelia 7 years ago

      That's got to be the ugliest thing I've ever seen!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Anyone out there that has a Kinkajou, I would really like to have someone to share my experience that I have with my kinkajou and would like to learn more. I have not been able to get any one to reply, I have tried different websites and can find information other than basisc info. Helpppppp!!!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have a now 7month old Kinkajou and he is cutting teeth, my vet gave medication for him, but he tends to want to bite/chew my fingers. Is there any thing that will help him, I feel his teeth are really hurting him at times. Also should he be neutered, and why. I have no intention of breeding him.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: UK SWEET rock on man i moved from Brussles to Texas

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: i Really love ocelots i hope they eat up all the kinkajou's hope this doesn't make u mad but hahahahahahahahahahahaha

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      there so cool i want 2 just love them but cann t find them in uk :(

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      so CUTE

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      i am doing an assignment on kinkajous for my social studies class. its on endangered species, and this site is very educational and interesting. though it doesn't have any information about why it is endangered and what is being done to help conserve the creatures. please add some of this information in. thanks!

      eggiieee

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      omg im am such a huge fan of kinkajous and are they amazing creatures or wht! i personally think they are wonderful creatures!!!!! if i told you guys how much i loved kinkajous it would take at least a year because that would just be the beginning.

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      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I'm feeling -- and probably looking -- like a kinkajou today after all the merry partying yesterday! When will the fun stop?

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      I am teaching a second or third grade class about kinkajous and i need information so i came to this website and it really works!!!!I am only in fourth grade and these are wonderful beautiful animals, and i feel bad because their home (rain forest)are being cut down. so spread the word and tell people to try to save paper!!!!!:)!!!please think of cute little and big animals dying every day because of us.be green. thank you.If you agree please please please please reply or spread the word.it is Wednesday. and i am bored.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      im doing a project on the kinkajou and this website works really well

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I just got home from a festival that is HUGE in my town. This year they had a tent full of wild animals. I was lucky enough to get my picture taken with a kinkajou, however the little thing ended up biting my finger.Even though it was bleeding and hurt, I still love the little guy. I know it's not in the norm for that to happen and it was probably because of all the noise and people around him.

      Anyway, I just wanted to share my little blurb. It's not everyday you get to meet one, hold it, and get bitten lol.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      im doing a research paper on kinkajous. there is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much information on these wonderful animals!!!!! explore and have fun!!! L8r.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      These are beautiful animals. I've seen these on the Discovery Channel before, they're amazing creatures. 5 stars and blessed!

    • profile image

      ladydarkness1313 8 years ago

      Please Check Out Ursa Freedom Project

      The Ursa Freedom Project commits to liberate 9,000 bears from bile farms in China/Viet Nam and to end a practice that is commercially unnecessary. We who gather for the sake of the Moon Bear affirm liberty and deplore the torture of any living being. This endangered species is subjected to the unconscionable practice of bile extraction for use by industries which can use higher quality synthetic replacements to bear bile. The products are largely non-essential, including wine, furniture polish and certain types of medicine for preventable diseases. And the Chinese government has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of those who have worked for decades to help these animals.

      Return to Freedom

      The Ursa Freedom Project commits to liberate farmed Moon Bears from the wretched crush cages and abject torture they experience daily – until they die. The abominable practice of bear bile farming should have never begun and must stop now. These beautiful creatures must be returned to freedom, to live in the state Nature intended for them – a life of up to 30 years to roam in their natural habitat and to eat mostly berries and foliage.

      This is no small task, it will take the belief and coming together of a great many to support those who work toward the liberation of farmed bears, to their rehabilitation and release into the wild. The Ursa Freedom Project invites you to join with your loved ones, neighbors and local organisations to share in a unique and uplifting campaign.

      We aim to dismantle the bile farm industry. Please explore our website to learn how many small steps can bring these bears to freedom. We thank you for joining us.

      Together, we can make a world of change.

      http://ursafreedomproject.ning.com/

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 8 years ago

      They're very cute, especially the babies.

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      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      You know, that kinkajou's tongue is amazingly long -- almost like an anteater! But, still a cute animal.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      hi lol so cute

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      yooooooooooooooooooooooooo so cute man lol

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Important advice for would-be exotic pet owners. Thanks Debra 5*

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      aaaaawwwwwAAAAAWWWWWW THERE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      aaaaawwwwwAAAAAWWWWWW THERE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Just curious about how much to feed a kinkajou, and if there should be a certain amount of each item in their diet to feed them everyday?

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 9 years ago

      Woot! Look at that rascally animal's tongue. It's rather like Gene Simmons of KISS don't you know? Love this guy's name -- very whimsical much like the animal.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUUUUUUTE