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coatimundi, red-tailed coatimundi, ring-tailed coatimundi, white-nosed coatimundi, coati, quash
The coati is a relative of the raccoon with a long, pointed muzzle, a long, bushy and ringed tail, and brown to red-brown fur.
Approximately 60 cm (2 ft.) with a 60 cm (24 in.) tail
3.5-6 kg (7.7-13 lb)
Omnivorous: Includes fruit, insects, frogs, lizards, and other small animals and their eggs.
Gestation lasts approximately 77 days; 3-5 offspring
About 2 years
7-10 years; up to 16 years
Central and South America
Inhabits coastal mangrove forests, lowland savannas, deserts, and interior dense tropical forest
Coatis feed by using their long noses, poking them under rocks and into crevices. They also use their long claws to dig holes or tear apart rotting logs.
Coatis are often seen in large groups (called "bands") of 15-20 individuals. When surprised, the entire group will leap into the trees while emitting clicks and "woofs".
These animals are diurnal, sleeping in treetop leaves and branches during the night. They spend most of day in search of food, grooming, and resting.
The species is very social, living in bands of 4-25 individuals, which are usually related females and their young.
Coatis walk with their ringed tails held high. When climbing, their tail is used for balance.
So accustomed to arboreal life, coatis mate in the trees, creating nests for their young among the branches. The offspring stay in the nest with their mother for 5-6 weeks before she rejoins the band.
Their ankles are double jointed and extremely flexible, enabling the animal to descend trees headfirst.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Coatis are an important food source for larger predators, and in some regions, are hunted for their meat by humans.
These animals help control insect, reptile, and amphibian populations as well.
However, they are also seen as agricultural pests, damaging farmers' crops.
Grzimek's Encyclopedia, Mammals
. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing, Co. 1990.
Santa Barbara Zoo.