Tags: Rainforest Library
Kinkajous are some of the most mis-understood mammal of the tropical rainforest.
The kinkajou is found throughout southern Mexico, Central America, and the Amazon basin. They live high in the forest canopy, nearly 100 feet off the ground.
Because they live so high off the ground and are nocturnal, it takes a very dedicated scientist to try and study the behaviors of a kinkajou.
Even though a kinkajou might resemble a monkey in a lot of ways, it actually belongs to the same family as a racoon and a coati. Kinkajous are only about 26 inches long, or about the size of a housecat.. Its tail is 18 inches long and its body is only 8 inches- that’s less than half! Although the kinkajou is a great climber, it doesn’t leap from tree to tree like monkey. It uses its long tail as an extra arm- for swinging and climbing.
Kinkajous are classified as carnivores, though scientists believe that they live entirely on fruit. Their skull structure and teeth are similar to carnivores, but recently scientists have discovered that kinkajous love feeding on nectar, figs, and other fruit.
The Kinkajou belongs to the racoon family and uses its sharp claws to keep itself firmly in place over 100 feet off the ground.
The kinkajou is an arboreal mammal, meaning that it lives most of its life high in the trees. Their feet are adapted to climbing trees in the canopy.
Over the years, kinkajou population has been hurt by the pet trade. Because of this critter’s cute looks, many people think they would make good pets. But, remember that they are nocturnal animals (so you don’t get to play with them that often), they are very loud (like other weasals), and they are extremely messy. One zoologist says, “Up all night, and can’t be housebroken.” Zoos all over the world are flooded with kinkajous that have been removed from their natural habitat and then abandoned by pet owners.