Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Kinkajou

 

The kinkajous are from Central and South America, they primarily live in trees, hang by their tail, and love to eat fruit and honey. However, the kinkajou (Potos flavus) is not a primate. Actually more closely-related to raccoons, coatis and lemurs.

Kinkajous are one of only two members of the Carnivora order with prehensile tails, the other being the binturong. Fully-grown kinkajous weigh 8-10 lbs and have a total body length of 16-24 inches. In addition, their powerful tails may equal or exceed their bodies in length. Kinkajous have five toes on each foot and possess the ability to turn their back feet backwards. This allows them to descend trees headfirst.

Despite being grouped as carnivores, most of the kinkajou's diet is made up of ripe fruit such as figs as well as honey. Small mammals, insects, and eggs are also eaten as well as flowers and nectar. They are called honey bears because they raid bees' nests. They use their long, skinny tongues to slurp honey from a hive, and also to remove insects like termites from their nests. Their 5-inch-long tongue can reach inside flowers or beehives for tasty honey or nectar.

Their short, dense fur provides a natural protection from bee stings. Their dexterous paws help them manipulate food. They often hang by their tail while reaching for their next piece of fruit! Kinkajous are important pollinators. As they travel from flower to flower to drink nectar, the flower's pollen sticks to their face and then smears off at the next flower. Their particular feeding habits make it an important pollinator in the rainforest ecosystem.

Kinkajous live in rain-forest canopy ranging from southern Mexico to much of northern South America. They are nocturnal animals that usually forage alone in the dark of night, returning to sleep in tree holes with a family unit during daylight hours as a group they are called a troop.

Kinkajous breed throughout the year and can live for well over twenty years. The oldest living kinkajou in captivity was 41 years old. They can be quite noisy with their high-pitched squeaks, hisses, and barks. They screech and bark all around the forest, earning them yet another nickname: la llorona, Spanish for the crying woman.

Many people own and want to own a kinkajou as a exotic pet. Before you make that decision check your state and federal laws on ownership.

Kinkajous are beautiful animals and can make wonderful pets, since their personalities are often playful, yet docile and sweet. They are not destructive animals and have been known to be kept in the house without a cage. Kinkajous are generally quiet and docile, and they have no noticeable odor. We have a kinkajou and his name is Balou. He is a handsome little fellow with the cute factor radiating. If you would like to meet him give us a call or send us an email.

 

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