Amazing Kids! Magazine

Sci-Tech Kids – The Poo Flinging Coati

By Enzo Monfre, Sci Tech Kids Columnist

Look out when this little guy has a temper tantrum! When the coatimundi (or “coati”) gets hyper and angry, hide everything that weighs under 20 pounds. (Yes, even that dirty pair of underpants). And for the love of Pete put a diaper on him! They have been known to fling poo and anything else they can get their claws on.

While I was on camera for our coatimundi episode, I was trying to see if he would go after a cricket or a strawberry… the cricket went up my sleeve before he could decide!

Lucky for me, that rowdy, but sweet coati was very patient and didn’t have a hissy fit. He just dug in the dirt for his own invertebrate treat, while I wrestled with a cricket in my shirt. (He was a rescue coati raised by humans. Please do not play with wild animals!)

I met a Mountain coatimundi, but there are several different kinds of coatis: Brown-nosed or white-nosed coati, South American coati, and Cozumel Island coati. The Mountain coati has been recently split into two species: the Eastern mountain coati (from Venezuela), and the Western mountain coati (from Colombia and Equador). They also have silly nicknames, like hog nose coon, Snookum bear and Brazilian aardvark. Snookum bear? Seriously!?

The coati is a member of the raccoon family. These mammals are native to South America, Central America and have moved into the southwestern United States. They prefer more wooded regions, because they are great climbers. They have musk glands under their bodies so they can tell each other apart. You know, the jungle stinks enough already!

Coatis are mostly diurnal, which means they are active in the daytime. These omnivores are about the size of a large house cat and the males have large, sharp canine teeth. They have long claws for digging up invertebrates. Their snout is also long and has a great sense of smell to locate their tasty diet of lizards, rodents, fruit and bird eggs.

These guys can be pretty fierce, but they still have enemies. Natural predators include foxes, ocelots, jaguars, hawks, eagles and humans. White-faced capuchin monkeys also hunt their pups.

Even though these little creatures are related to raccoons, they have been around for millions of years. They walked alongside dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, and now they still walk alongside us. They may have even eaten dinosaur eggs! They’ve been around in the past and they will, hopefully, be around in the future.

(You can see more of Enzo’s show at: http://www.enzoology.com.)

 

 

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