South American Coatimundi

Nasua nasua

Kevin the coati is a visitor favourite! He loves a scratch, whether this is from a keeper or one of the raccoons!

Species Information

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Coatis are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) and so share some physical characteristics with racoons. They have black rings on their tail, this is where they get another name; the ring-tailed coati. This tail is used to keep them balanced when climbing among trees. They have a long and flexible snout which can be rotated 60° in any direction and so makes it perfect to root the ground to find and unearth insect food. Once they find food, they can dig it out using their powerful claws. Their bodies are also perfectly adapted to climbing trees in their natural habitat. For example, they have double jointed ankles which can rotate beyond 180° which aids the coati when climbing down trees headfirst.

Coatis are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) and so share some physical characteristics with racoons.
They have black rings on their tail, this is where they get another name; the ring-tailed coati. This tail is used to keep them
balanced when climbing among trees. They have a long and flexible snout which can be rotated 60° in any direction and so
makes it perfect to root the ground to find and unearth insect food. Once they find food, they can dig it out using their
powerful claws. Their bodies are also perfectly adapted to climbing trees in their natural habitat. For example, they have
double jointed ankles which can rotate beyond 180° which aids the coati when climbing down trees headfirst.

These omnivores eat a range of prey including birds, rodents, invertebrates, tarantulas, scorpions, lizards and carrion. But they will also eat fruits, nuts, and crocodile eggs!

About 8 years in the wild and 15 years in human care.

They are semi-arboreal, foraging on the floor for prey whilst looking for fruits in trees and sleeping in these elevated places where they will build themselves a nest. This is beneficial as it allows them to rest in the safety from terrestrial predators and more easily spot tree-dwelling and airborne predators when awake. Males become solitary, or form bachelor groups, once they leave their mothers at about 2 years, this is mainly due to a collective aggression shown towards the males from the females causing them to leave the group. Females on the other hand live together with their offspring in bands of up to 30 coatis where they will nurse together and partake in cooperative grooming to enhance social bonds in the group. This band communicates with an array of sounds such as woofs, chirps, and snorts, whether this is to signal for food, potential predatory threats, or to express emotion during social interactions.

Due to the defensive, aggressive behaviour of a band of females, which often includes them chasing males away, a male will be submissive to a band of females and groom them to be accepted into the group for mating purposes. A male will attempt this during the start of the rainy season when fruit, a high source of energy, is most abundant. The male will mate with all the females in trees before he is chased off. The females will be pregnant for about 11 weeks and give birth to 2-7 kittens in a nest amongst the trees.

Least Concern

The ‘hog-nosed racoon’ is known to rub their fur with resin from Trattinnickia aspera trees. Although the reason is unknown, it is speculated that they do this for pharmaceutical reasons such as serving as insect repellent or a fungicide, or it may just be for scent marking.