Brown-Nosed Coati Fact File


The brown nosed coati has a barrel shaped body with a head which tapers to a point at the snout. This snout is long and narrow and is used to overturn items in search of food. The snout is highly flexible.

Their body is covered with thick fur which is colored brown, grey or red. The underside is lighter in color. At the end of the body is a long tail which is banded with lighter yellow rings. The tail is as long as their body measuring 32-70cm (12.5-28in) long. It is not prehensile but is used for balance when climbing.

Each of their four feet can rotate 180 degrees to allow them to descend down trees headfirst. They have strong claws to assist with climbing.

A brown nosed coati will measure 43-58cm (17-22.75in) long. Their weight varies between 2 and 7.2kg (4.5-15.75lbs).


Brown nosed coatis are omnivores. Their diet includes fungi, fruits, berries, nuts, insects, eggs, reptiles and small mammals. On occasion they will also eat carrion. Males have been known to cannibalize their own young.

They may enter human habitats and eat rubbish.

This incredibly varied diet means they will eat most things which are available. Their diet is variable across the seasons.


Scientific Name

Nasua nasua

Conservation Status

Least Concern


2-7.2kg (4.5-15.75lbs)


43-58cm (17-22.75in)


Wild 14 years

Captive 17 years



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South America is the native home of the brown-nosed coati. Here they can be found throughout Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


They make their home in forested habitats including deciduous, cloud, riverine galley and evergreen forests. They also live in scrubland, mesquite grassland and cerrado.



The breeding season is variable across their range taking place sometime between October and March and typically lasting around 3 months. These seasons will correlate with the highest availability of fruit in their environment.

Males are solitary for most of the year only joining a band of females for breeding season. The male will groom the females in the band so he can be accepted in to this.

Following a successful mating the female will chase the male out of the group.

She forms a nest in a tree where she will give birth to between one and seven young. These are cared for in the nest for the next six weeks while they learn to walk and climb. When they are capable of this they will rejoin the group.

Young are reliant on the mother at birth and they are born with closed eyes. These open by 10 days old. They will start to eat solid food at 4 months old.

Females work together to help raise each others young.

Sexual maturity is reached at two years old for females and three years old for males.


Brown nosed coatis will spend much of their day in the trees with eating, sleeping, mating and nesting taking place here.

Coatis create a range of vocalizations including a soft whining, woof or click. The whining is used to keep the group together while the woof and click help to alert the group to predators. They will also communicate by scent marking. Tail movements also help them to communicate.

They will form a group (called a band) which is made up of females and their young. Each band typically includes 10-20 animals though they may number up to 60.

Females are mostly active by day with the group providing some level of protection. Males are more nocturnal to allow them to avoid predators.


Predators and Threats

Brown nosed coatis face predation from a number of species including large cats such as jaguars and mountain lions, boa constrictors, foxes, dogs, small cats such as ocelots and birds of prey.

In most cases when a member of the group alerts them to a predator they will run in to the forest though they may mob some smaller predators.

Humans reduce the population of the brown nosed coati through habitat destruction and hunting.

Quick facts

The brown-nosed coati is also known as the south American coati, ring-tailed coati, coatimundi or common coati.

The coati is a member of the same family as the kinkajou, ringtail and red pandas.

Ancient Mayans believed that the coati had supernatural powers including a belief that they could talk.

Due to the males living alone and females living together scientists initially believed that they were separate species and named them as such.


Photo Credits

Under License.


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley

PerthZooWebsite. 2020. South American Coati. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 September 2020]. 2020. Brown-Nosed Coati | Alexandria Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 September 2020].

Zoological Society of London (ZSL). 2020. Coati (Brown-Nosed). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 September 2020].

Nasua nasua" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 24, 2020 at 2020. Coati | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 September 2020].

Emmons, L. & Helgen, K. 2016. Nasua nasua. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41684A45216227. Downloaded on 24 September 2020.

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