White Nosed Coati

16 Interesting Facts About Coatis

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Coatis, also known as coatimundis, are adorable raccoon-like mammals found in Central and South America. These curious creatures have long snouts for sniffing out food and can rotate their ankles to climb headfirst down trees!

Coatis are members of the raccoon family that have adapted to life in the trees. They use their flexible snouts to poke into crevices looking for food and the claws on their paws to grip branches.

Coatis are highly social animals that live and forage in bands. They are also incredibly intelligent and even use tools to solve problems!

Read on to learn more intriguing details about these charismatic critters!

Coati in the vegetation
Coati in the vegetation by Tambako the Jaguar is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 .


  1. There are two species of coatis: the South American or white-nosed coati and the mountain or brown-nosed coati. The white-nosed coati is found in most of South America while the mountain coati lives only in higher elevations of the Andes Mountains.
  2. Coatis have a long, flexible snout. Their elongated nose is used to poke into small spaces like hollow logs and rock crevices while foraging. The nostrils can be closed to keep out debris.
  3. They have a strong sense of smell aided by their distinctive nose. Coatis can sniff out food sources like fruit, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and eggs. Their long tongue helps them lap up ants and termites.
  4. Coatis have non-retractable claws that are excellent for climbing. They use their rotating ankles to climb down trees headfirst.
  5. They are diurnal and most active in the day, spending the night sleeping in the trees.
  6. Coatis live in bands of up to 30 individuals. The groups are usually led by adult females that cooperate to raise young. Males are solitary outside of breeding season.
  7. Females give birth to 2-6 young after a gestation period of 11 weeks. The babies open their eyes after about 2 weeks and start exploring their surroundings.
  8. Mothers carry their offspring on their backs for the first few months to keep them safe from predators. The young coatis ride upside down and grip tightly to their mom’s fur.
  9. Coatis in captivity can live up to 14 years but have a much shorter lifespan of only around 4 years in the wild.
  10. They are omnivorous and eat fruit, insects, small vertebrates, eggs, and even small invertebrates like scorpions. They use their dexterous paws to manipulate food items.
  11. Coatis have been observed using tools like sticks to probe into narrow passages. Their intelligence allows them to solve problems to access food.
  12. They are found in a variety of forest habitats in Central and South America including rainforests, deciduous forests, and cloud forests located at high altitudes.
  13. Coatis face threats from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. They are sometimes hunted as food as well.
  14. They have few natural predators thanks to living high up in trees, but face some threats like jaguars, eagles, and snakes. Mothers are very protective of their young.
  15. Coatis have a distinct way of standing on their hind legs and holding their tail straight up that allows them to survey their surroundings by sight and smell.
  16. Their fluffy tail may serve as a pillow or blanket when the coati sleeps in a tree hollow or nest.


Coatis are unique tropical mammals that are well adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. From using their flexible snout as a versatile tool to raising their young together in social groups, coatis display a remarkable intelligence.

Their small size and appealing looks have unfortunately made them victims of the illegal exotic pet trade, reducing their numbers. Habitat conservation is vital for the survival of both species of this charismatic animal.

Learning more about coatis helps us appreciate the diversity of mammalian adaptations. Watching their antics in the trees of Central and South American forests allows us to better protect these captivating creatures.

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