Sunday, April 8, 2012

Oh How I Love Coatimundi!

Ranging from Southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Southwestern Texas to Argentina, the Coatimundi -- or just Coati for short. It is also known as the Brazilian Aardvark, Hog-nosed Coon, Snookum Bear, Cholla Bear, and other names not easily translated into English.  There are five sub-species, including the White Nosed Coati found in the Southwestern US, Mexico, and Central America. The other sub-species are primarily found in South America.

Coatis are omnivores, eating mainly insects, fruit, and small vertebrates such as lizards and rodents. Unlike their relatives, the Raccoon, Coatis are diurnal, i.e. active day or night. The snout is long and somewhat "piglike" and very flexible so that it can rotate up to 60% in any direction. This helps it find food in the bark of trees or in/on the ground. They have "bear-like" paws with non-retractacble claws (walking on the soles of their feet as humans). Their ankles are double-jointed which can rotate more than 180 degrees, allowing them to climb and descend trees quickly. The tail can be up to three feet long and is used for balance and signaling. For example, the tail is often held erect to be easy seen. This helps keep troops of coatis together in tall vegetation. (It also has helped me find them on occasion).

But, they are also very curious animals. One of my favorite experiences was playing "Hide 'n Seek" with one for nearly 45 minutes. He'd climb a tree and poke his head around one side then the other. I'd do the same with a nearby tree. He would run further up the tree and then down about ten feet or so before stopping. At one point, he just "lay down" in the hollow of the tree to rest  -- as in the first photo. The second photo was one of our hide 'n seek photos:


More tomorrow!

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