The coatimundi, or coati, is a mammal related to the raccoon, but the species has a characteristic, long snout with somewhat pig-like features and bear-like paws. Coatimundis have a reddish, brown or dark coat, depending on the species, with a lighter under-part and a white-ringed tail in most cases. All coatis share a slender head with an elongated, slightly upward-turned nose, small ears, dark feet and a long, non-prehensile tail used for balance and signaling.
- Up to 15 years in captivity
The coatimundi's diet consists of fruits, nuts, leaves, roots, insects, amphibians, fish, reptiles, eggs, small birds or mammals and even carrion, which it finds or catches on the ground or on trees. The snout, with a formidable sense of smell, assists the skilled paws in a hog-like manner to unearth insects and roots.
IUCN: Least Concern CITES: Appendix III South American coati : (Nasua nasua) Brown or white nosed coati : (Nasua narica) Nelso's coati : (Nasua nelsoni) Wedel's coati : (Nasua wedeli) Mountain or Andean : (Nasua olivacea)
They range from the southwestern United States to Argentina and Uruguay.
Coatimundis live in a wide variety of terrain, such as the lowland rainforests, river woodlands, bushy and rocky terrain, though they are usually found in heavily forested areas. Coatimundi females and young males up to 2 years of age are gregarious and travel through their territories in noisy, loosely-organized bands made up of 4 to 25 individuals, foraging with their offspring. Males over 2 years become solitary due to behavioral disposition and collective aggression from the females, and will join the female groups only during the breeding season. When provoked, or for defense, coatis can be fierce fighters: their strong jaws, sharp canine teeth, and fast scratching paws, along with a tough hide sturdily attached to the underlying muscles, make it very difficult for predators (e.g. dogs, jaguars) to seize the small mammal. The coati communicates its intentions or moods with chirping, snorting or grunting sounds. Different chirping sounds are used to express joy during social grooming, appeasement after fights, or to convey irritation or anger. Snorting while digging, along with an erect tail, states territorial or food claims during foraging.
- Mating Season: coincides with rainy season (breeds once a year)
- Young Rearing: The pregnant females separate from the group, build a nest on a tree or in a rocky niche and, after a gestation period of about 11 weeks, give birth to litters of 3 to 7 young. About six weeks after birth, the females and their young will rejoin the band. Males leave the band when they are two.
The coatimundi faces unregulated hunting and the serious threat of environmental destruction in Central and South America. The absence of scientifically sound population studies of Nasua or Nasuella in the wild is probably leading to a severe underestimation of the ecological problems and decline in numbers affecting the species in Central and South America. Successful adaptation to life in human proximity (e.g. similar to raccoons living in metropolitan areas in the U.S.) is very unlikely; the species is thus threatened by habitat destruction.
Natural Enemies : (other than Human)
Jaguarundis, foxes, tayras, ocelots, jaguars, hawks, eagles, boa constrictors