White-Nosed Coati Fact File
The white-nosed coati is a relative of the raccoons and olingos and can be found across South, Central and North America.
Females form bands of up to 20 individuals including mothers, their daughters and males up to two years old. Once males reach sexual maturity they are chased from the band and become solitary.
These animals are omnivores and will feed on fruit, insects and other small animals. They are equipped with a long, flexible snout which can move in to crevices to investigate them.
At present no estimate of the population has been created but numbers have certainly declined due to habitat loss and hunting.
Read on to learn more about these marvellous animals.
The white-nosed coati is named for the white ring around the long, flexible snout. At its tip this is colored black. White is also present in a spot above and below each eye along with a small patch on the cheek.
Their fur is primarily grey-brown but grey hairs mixed in to this give it a grizzled look. On the underside the fur is lighter in color.
The body ends with a long tail that is ringed with bands of lighter color. When they walk they hold the tail above their body. This tail is semi-prehensile to help them balance as they climb. Their tail is almost as long as their body.
White-nosed coati have plantigrade feet meaning the body weight spreads across the whole foot as they walk. This is an adaptation to help them remain stable in the trees. Few species exhibit this trait with others being bears and humans.
The forelegs of a white-nosed coati are shorter than the backlegs. Their feet are colored black. These animals have long claws to help them with digging.
An average coati will measure 40-70cm (15.75-27.5in) long with a weight between 3 and 5kg (6.5-11lbs).
The white-nosed coati is an omnivore. They feed primarily on insects along with fruits and small animals including lizards, frogs or mice. A favored fruit is prickly pear and bands have been known to strip trees bare of leaves.
Much of their foraging takes place on the ground.
They are able to kill stinging insects by rolling them between the forepaws.
The range of the white-nosed coati takes in parts of South, North and Central America. Here they can be found in the following countries – Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama and the United States.
White-nosed coatis make their home in tropical woodland and open forest. Occasionally they can be found in areas of grassland and desert.
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Mating takes place in spring. Males will be accepted in to a band (group) of females with which he will mate in the trees. Once this is complete he is chased out of the group.
Breeding is timed to coincide with the period when fruit is in abundance and food competition is reduced.
Soon before giving the birth the female finds a spot to build a nest. Here she gives birth to up to seven young per litter. The young are born after a 78 day gestation period.
Newborns open their eyes within 11 days of birth. After five weeks in the nest the young and their mother will rejoin their band. Weaning off of milk takes place around 4 months old. They reach full size at 15 months old.
As they approach sexual maturity at 3 years old the males will be chased out of the group while females remain in their birth group.
White-nosed coatis are active by day when they will move to the ground to forage. Nights are spent resting in the trees.
Bands or groups of coati are made up of females with the males living alone. There may be up to 20 individuals in a group. Females remain in their birth group and as such groups gradually become larger. When they are too large they will split in to two.
Predators and Threats
No full estimate of their population has been established. Some estimates have listed them as rare while others list them as common. Despite this the species has shown a clear population decline.
They face a range of threats including habitat loss and hunting. Habitat fragmentation has caused their to be a loss of genetic movements in populations.
White-nosed coatis can be affected by diseases such as canine distemper and rabies.
These animals are also known as the coatimundi meaning “lone coati” in Guarani a native language spoken in Brazil. It was originally thought males were a separate species as they move around alone giving rise to this name.
The closest relatives of the coatis are the racoons. They are part of the same family, Procyonidae.
Coati comes from a Tupian language of South America and is a reference to how they often sleep with their tail or paws over the face.
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