Only measuring between 17 to 22 inches with tails that match that length, Kinkajous aren’t the biggest critters in the rainforest, but they certainly are well equipped for life in the canopy! They use their prehensile tail as a fifth limb to assist in climbing as they search for food. They are usually golden brown and have large eyes to help them see in the dark while foraging at night, as they are primarily nocturnal.
Habitat & Diet
Kinkajous live high in the canopy of the rainforests of Latin and South America. They are built for climbing, sharing the same double-jointed wrists of raccoons and coatis, whom are both cousins to this creature. They eat insects, fruit and small animals. They have a specially developed long tongue that they use to hollow out termite dens and even go after honey in beehives.
They live and nest in groups called troops, and will engage in social activities like grooming to develop bonds within their communities. Females will give birth about once a year, and the young develop very quickly. By the end of their second month, they will have full use of their tail and will be semi-independent.
Meet our Residents
- Many mistake kinkajous as some kind of lesser primate, due to their long tails, flexible fingers and tendencies for social behavior like group grooming. However, they are a part of the ring-tailed family.
- Kinkajous have a high-pitched, jarring scream that can be heard all the way down on the forest floor. It is loud enough that those not familiar with it may mistake it for an intimidating predator, not knowing the noise is coming from a relatively small animal!
- They are one of the few mammals that are pollinators!
Status In The Wild
They are classified as Least Concern, but kinkajous make their home in rainforests and like any animal in this ecosystem, deforestation is a very real and constant threat to the balance of the kinkajou population. They are also pursued for their fur, meat and as an exotic pet despite their nocturnal sleep cycle and nasty temperament. They can live, on average, up to 23 years in captivity.