Zoo Buddy: Coatimundis

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’re doing our Zoo Buddy segment here at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo highlighting the coatimundis, or coati for short, at the zoo.

“These guys are related to the raccoons and they’re pretty special. But unlike the raccoons, they actually spend most of their time out during the day, not at night. But she is absolutely adorable. You’ll notice unlike raccoons, they have an absolutely adorable face and nose,” says zookeeper Danny Spinks. “They are omnivores. They eat all kinds of insects and also can eat small mammals and stuff like that. Like little rats, rodents, stuff like that. These guys, in particular, they love, love boiled eggs. In fact, every time I go into the exhibit, I have to bring them a treat, or else they don’t want me to come in.”

And they’re very good climbers! “Their claws are awesome. They do not retract. They’re always out. And it makes for them to be avid climbers, they actually are pretty neat their wrist, and their ankles can turn almost 180 degrees, which allows them to climb down something while facing, they can hold onto the bark of the tree, they can face down and climb up and down whichever way they need to go,” explains Spinks. Spinks says their habitat spans a wide range and they’re very adaptable. “These guys are mountain coatimundis, and so they’re typically going to be up high in the mountains, but they range all over the place, about the only area that they don’t range around in is the grasslands,” says Spinks. “But as far as their habitat is from Central America all the way up to actually southwestern United States.”

He says many people refer to them as “squeakers” because of the noise they make.

If you’d like to come see these guys at the zoo, they’re located right across from the splash pad. The zoo is open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“If you want to catch the animals pretty active come in the mornings, I would suggest, and you could see these guys moving around. The zookeepers have them out around 10 o’clock. Saturdays are pretty busy, but during the week, you probably would have a private tour through the zoo with your family,” says Lisa Taylor, General Curator at the zoo.

For more information on coatis, click here.

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