The coati (koh AH tee), sometimes called coatimundi (koh AH tee MUHN dee) is a raccoon-like animal living from southern Arizona down to northern Argentina. A coati can grow up to 28 inches (70 cm) long with a tail of the same size. They will normally hold their tail straight up to help with balance. Coatis weigh up to fifteen pounds (7 kg) or about as much as a cat. Their diet consists of many things including insects, snails, spiders, fruit, lizards, mice, and even bird eggs or other stuff. Although they are often called coatimundi, that word is actually Italian meaning lone coati, and refers to the males, which live alone. The female and young males live together in groups of five to twenty. These groups are occasionally larger but rarely exceed fifty. The coatis communicate with their group using many vocal sounds as well as tail movement signs. Once the mating season is over, the female coatis chase away the males. Around ten weeks after mating, the females leave their group and give birth to two to seven babies. After six weeks, the female and her young rejoin the group. When the males get old enough, the rest of the group chases them away. Some of the advantages of living in a group are they look after the young together and can cover a larger area when looking for food. The coatis will also groom each other and can see potential predators sooner and join together to fight or scare away the enemies.
Don’t forget to check out the activity sheet under sources.
Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- http://www.worldbookonline.com/pl/infofinder/article?id=ar120720&st=coati (account required)
- coloring/activity sheet
- Coati – public domain
- Coati range map – Wikipedia user:Jürgen
- Mystery animal – Jens Petersen (1829–1900) discovered on Wikipedia