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 coati 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.
South American Coatis are diurnal (active during the day), but can also be active at night. They live on the ground and in trees, usually sleeping in trees.
They are omnivorous, eating small animals, fruit, bird eggs, and even tarantula spiders. Their long noses poke into holes in trees and in the ground to search for food. They will rip open logs with their strong claws. Animals that eat Coatimundi include foxes, jaguars, and dogs.
Females live in large groups, called bands, consisting of 15-30 individuals. Males are solitary animals.
Female South American Coatis have multiple male partners. Females are 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, coatis live for about 7-8 years, while in captivity they can live for 15-16 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM