Coatis are native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Southwestern United States. They are part of the same family as raccoons and, in some regions, they are called the “hog-nosed coon”. They do not have much of a preference for climate, as coatis are known to live in environments ranging from humid, hot Amazonian rain forests to cold mountainous regions, and everywhere in between.
Coatis are diurnal, active during the daylight. They are omnivores, just like their closest relatives. They dig in the soil to find small invertebrates such as bugs to eat, as well as consuming fruit, eggs, and hunting for small lizards and mammals. They find their food using a keen sense of smell.
For the first few years of their lives, coatis are very social animals. They travel in groups of around 25 individuals, which are made up of adult females, young males, and their offspring. Around two or three years of age, the male coatis tend to become more aggressive and either become solitary or form small groups of their own, joining the female groups only during the mating season. The females never find the need to be alone or fight with one another. In addition to living and hunting or foraging together, coatis also participate in social grooming activities like some primates. They vocalize different types of chirps to convey happiness, to bond, or to make peace after fights. It has been proven that coatis can identify one another by individual smell, voice, and appearance.
Mating season for coatis varies based on the climate of the region. It is always at the beginning of the rainy season, to ensure a plentiful food supply of plants and fruits. This season falls in the spring in some areas and in the fall in others. The mother coati builds a nest near a tree or rocky shelter to give birth in. Each litter’s size is about three to seven kits. The kits and the mother stay alone for the first few weeks of their life, during which the kits are completely dependent on the mother. After the young coatis are around six weeks old, they are ready to join the group.
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