The South American Coatimundi (Nasua nasua), generally called the Coati or Ring-Tailed Coati, is a member of the raccoon family.
The South American Coatimundi has variable coloured fur, but mostly brown-grey or black. It has dark rings on its tail that can be quite pronounced or faintly-coloured. It has a long snout, with sharp canine teeth, small ears, dark feet, bear-like paws, and long, sharp non-retractable claws.
Its snout (nose) is slightly upturned with an acute sense of smell. It is extremely flexible, able to rotate up to 60° in any direction.
It is double-jointed and their ankles can rotate beyond 180° so that they are able to descend trees head first.
The South American Coatimundi is 85–113 centimetres (33–44 inches) long, and half of the length is its tail. It is about the size of a large domestic cat.
The South American Coatimundi is widespread in tropical and subtropical South America, mostly in the lowlands east of the Andes mountains, from Colombia to Uruguay and northern Argentina. Chile is the only South American country where the species is not found.
It is diurnal (active during the day), but can also be active at night. It lives on the ground and in trees, usually sleeping in trees.
It is omnivorous, eating small animals, fruit, bird eggs, and even tarantula spiders. Its long nose pokes into holes in trees and in the ground to search for food. It will rip open logs with it strong claws. Animals that eat Coatimundi include foxes, jaguars, and dogs.
The female lives in large groups, called bands, consisting of 15-30 individuals. The male is solitary.
The female South American Coatimundi is pregnant for about 77 days, before giving birth to 2-4 young, called pups or kits. The pups are raised in a nest in the trees for 4-6 weeks.
In the wild, it lives for about 7-8 years, while in captivity it can live for 15-16 years.
South American Coatimundi
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM