Lifestyle and Lifespan
Related to the northern raccoon, coati have a white "mask" around their eyes. They have long snouts with a black nose. Their coat is grizzled brown, white, and grey which helps with camouflage. Their long black and white ringed tail is usually held erect while walking.
The white-nosed coati has a band of white fur surrounding the nose, on the end of the muzzle.
A coati's ankle can turn 180 degrees around, allowing it to safely climb down trees head first. Their long canines are used to kill prey and also protect against predators. They have strong shoulders, long claws, and flexible forearms which help them to climb. Their long tail is used for balance while climbing. Their long snout helps to dig up insects.
Coati live in tropical rainforests at many different altitudes, from lowland to high altitude mountain forests.
They will travel up to 1.5 miles in a day to find food.
Coati are omnivorous and will eat insects, small rodents, small reptiles, and scorpions, as well as fruit and vegetables. They rely heavily on insects. They are often seen on the ground digging for insects. They are exceptional climbers and will forage for fruit in trees when it is plentiful.
Coati provide a food source for large birds and mammals. They are thought to be pollinators for certain plants.
Coati spend the day foraging on the ground and in trees. They spend the night nesting in trees.
By foraging in a group, coati herd their prey towards one another, helping the others in the group to feed.
Females and young stay in bands of 12-30 coati. Adult males are usually solitary, except during breeding times when they join the band.
Breeding can happen anytime during the year but mostly between April and June. During that time, the breeding male will rejoin the larger band of females and young. After breeding is over, the female will force the male to leave the band again. Males will compete for females by turning up their snout, standing on their hind legs, and baring their teeth.
Mothers will nest with their litter for 5-6 weeks, after which time they will rejoin the band. Litters are 2-6 pups and their nest is located in a tree, in a branch fork or hollow cavity. Pups can walk enough to leave the nest at 4 weeks old and are weaned at 4 months though they will stay with their mother until she breeds again.
Listed by Honduras on Appendix III of CITES. Listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.
White-nosed coati had a strong population until the 1960s. There were major declines but it's unknown what caused this. The species has been recovering and moved its range northward as a result.
Oakland Zoo partner ARCAS works to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife, such as coati, in Guatemala.
You can help coati by donating to ARCAS at http://arcasguatemala.org/. Educate your community about the harm that having wild animals as pets has on the environment. Work to prevent deforestation in the Americas.
Coati may be important for pollinating certain plant species in their habitat.
The coati at the Oakland Zoo love getting perfume and other smelly things, like mouthwash, as enrichment in their exhibit.
Coati will retreat high into trees when they are scared, sometimes as high as 100 feet up.
The local name for coati in Belize is "quash."
University of Michigan. Animal Diversity Web. "Nasua narica." http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Nasua_narica/
Red List. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. "Nasua narica." http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41683/0
The Living Desert. "White-nosed Coati." http://www.livingdesert.org/animal/white-nosed-coati/
Philadelphia Zoo. "White-nosed coati." http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Animals/Mammals/Carnivora/White-Nosed-Coati.html
New Hampshire Public Television. "White-nosed Coati." http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/coati.html