It moves nimbly between ground and trees thanks to versatile, 180 degree rotating ankle joints.
Description: Coatis are covered with thick fur that varies in colour depending on where they come from. Sometimes it’s a dull grey, other times it’s red-orange. They have a long, narrow snout that they use like a shovel to dig and overturn leaf litter and rocks in their search for food. Their brown or black tail has yellow rings. It is as long as their body (or sometimes longer) and while not prehensile, it is used for balancing when climbing. Their ankle joints can rotate more than 180°, which is very useful when descending trees headfirst.
Diet: South American Coatis are omnivores. They eat fruit, nuts, invertebrates, eggs, reptiles and small mammals. They usually feed on what is most readily available and have a highly variable diet.
In the wild: Coatis travel in bands of up to 30 females and their young. Adult males live solitary lives and only approach these groups during the mating season (usually when the most fruit is available). When a female gives birth, she builds a nest in a tree and stays there for up to six weeks after her young are born. She then joins her group again with her young.
Coatis are excellent climbers and move into the trees to eat, sleep, mate and give birth. The rest of the time they spend on the ground searching for food.
Threats: Their natural predators include jaguars, boa constrictors, foxes, dogs, jaguarundi, ocelots and eagles.
South American Coatis are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss (land clearing for mining, roads, timber and agriculture) and being hunted by people for food.
Did you Know?
Coatis have a few ways of communicating with each other including individual scents and the markings on their tails. They also emit different sounds. For example, while foraging they use a soft whining sound that helps keep the group together. When danger is detected, they woof and click to alert other members, then either drop from the trees to run or hide in tree hollows.