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South American Coati
The coati is a mammal related to the raccoon, but the species has a characteristic, long snout with somewhat pig-like features and bear-like paws.Ring-Tailed coatis have a either a light brown or black coat, with a lighter under-part and a white-ringed tail in most cases. All coatis share a slender head with an elongated, slightly upward-turned nose, small ears, dark feet and a long, non-prehensile tail used for balance and signalling.Adults measure 41 to 67 cm from head to the base of the tail, which will add 30 to 60 cm to their length. Coatis are about 30 cm tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 3 and 8 kg, about the size of a large housecat. Males can become almost twice as large as females and have large, sharp canine teeth.They have strong limbs to climb and dig, and have a reputation for intelligence, like their fellow procyonid the raccoon.Coatis walk on the soles of their feet, like the Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), but contrary to their much bigger relatives, coatis are able to descend trees headfirst thanks to a double-jointed, flexible ankle.They prefer to sleep or rest in elevated places and niches, like the rainforest canopy, in crudely-built sleeping nests.
In the wild, coatis live for about 7 to 8 years, while in captivity they can live for up to 15 years.
The coati is an omnivore; its diet consists mainly of ground litter invertebrates and fruit . Predation on vertebrates is very rare.The snout, with a formidable sense of smell, assists the skilled paws in a hog-like manner to unearth invertebrates.
Coatis are small, curious and intelligent mammals, which are considered interesting, fun and endearing by their owners most of the time. However, they are prone to mischief and can be very destructive in a household or garden without constant supervision.In contrast to dogs and cats, coatis have not been bred to blindly accept authority. They are naturally selfish and will more often than not ignore their owner's authority or commands. Coati training is a difficult task. The small mammals will try to constantly improve their hierarchical status in the household, which implies aggressive confrontations. This can pose serious problems for a family with small children. Strangers will not be accepted easily, and neighbours are likely to face similar problems.The coati is a very social animal and will require a lot of attention from its owner. In their natural habitat, infant coatis sleep close to their mothers in order to avoid becoming easy prey for predators. Selective pressure has consequently created a very strong innate attachment of the young to their mother.
Coati females and young males up to 2 years of age are gregarious and travel through their territories in noisy, loosely-organized bands made up of 4 to 25 individuals, foraging with their offspring on the ground or in the forest's canopy. Males over 2 years become solitary due to behavioural disposition and collective aggression from the females, and will join the female groups only during the breeding season.When provoked, or for defense, coatis can be fierce fighters: their strong jaws, sharp canine teeth, and fast scratching paws, along with a tough hide sturdily attached to the underlying muscles, make it very difficult for predators to seize the small mammal.The coati communicates its intentions or moods with chirping, snorting or grunting sounds. Different chirping sounds are used to express joy during social grooming, appeasement after fights, or to convey irritation or anger.Snorting while digging, along with an erect tail, states territorial or food claims during foraging.Coatis additionally use special postures or moves to convey simple messages; for example, hiding the nose between the front paws as a sign for submission; lowering the head, baring teeth and jumping at an enemy signal an aggressive disposition.