The coatimundi (“coati” for short) is a member of the raccoon family and is native to Central and South America. The exact origin of the name “coatimundi” is not clear, though, it is thought that it resembles something from the Tupi language of Brazil.
The coatimundi resembles the raccoon in behavior, however, its nose and tail resemble a large possum. A coati can grow up to 2½ ft long including their 1foot tail. Males, generally are twice the size of females.
There are 5 known species of coatimundi. Only two of these five species reside in the Central American country of Belize. The different species of coatimundi are set apart by size, color and their respective geographical habitats.
Coatis are omnivorous meaning that they eat meat along fruits and vegetables. A coatimundis diet consists mainly of invertebrates such as bugs and worms along with fruits and roots. Coatis are also known to eat small lizards, rodents, birds, and bird’s eggs.
The life span of a coatimundi is 7 to 8 years in the wild. However, in captivity such as in a zoo, or when kept as a pet, if taken care of properly, the life span can double, up to 15 plus years.
Keeping a coatimundi as a pet can be very tricky, though not impossible. Many people in Central and South America keep coatis as pets; being a very intelligent animal, some can be even be toilet trained. However, due to a coatis wild nature and its fierce fighting capabilities when provoked, a house cat might be the better choice for a pet.
Remember when visiting wildlife in their natural habitat leave nothing but your footprints and take nothing except your photos and most importantly, your memories!