Kinkajou

(Potos flavus)

Habitat and Distribution: Found in tropical forests from Southern Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil.

Size: 3-10 pounds; up to 4 feet long, including a 2-foot tail.

Wild Diet: Primarily fruit and nectar

Predators: Wild cats and boas

Reproduction: Kinkajous are ready to mate at 1.5-2 years and can breed year-round. After a 4-month gestation, females give birth to one or two offspring, whose ears and eyes open within three weeks. Infants begin eating solid food at 2 months and are fully weaned at 4 months. Until they are weaned, infants are carried upside down below the mother's chest complex.

Behavior: Kinkajous are nocturnal, spending most of the day curled up in tree hollows. They live in loose groups ("troops") and share social interactions such as reciprocal grooming. They use scent glands on the throat, chest, and belly to mark territory, announce their presence, and attract mates. They may vocalize with a shrill, quavering scream while feeding, especially when other kinkajous are present. They may also bark when disturbed. Although they are very agile, they move cautiously, only letting go of one branch when they have secured the next.

Conservation

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Although the kinkajou is not classified as threatened, it must be presumed that kinkajou populations are sensitive to human disturbance, the pet trade, and hunting. They also need trees to survive, so deforestation may eventually pose a threat.

Did you know?

  • Kinkajous are also called "honey bears" because they love honey.
  • The scream of a kinkajou can be heard a mile away.
  • A kinkajou can hang from a branch using only its prehensile tail.
  • A kinkajou's tongue is 5 inches long.