The Kinkajou is an unusual member of the raccoon family, also called a honey bear. It has a long, prehensile tail, a short muzzle, and low-set, round ears. The Kinkajou is from Central America and some parts of South America. It is a quick animal that lives on the tops of tropical forests.
The only species in the genus Potos is the Kinkajou. Even though it is related to the raccoon and the coati, its looks, behavior, and habitat are more like those of a primate. In fact, when scientists first talked about the Kinkajou, they called it a lemur. It has soft fur that is grey or brownish grey, and its small, round face is home to big eyes. The eyes reflect a lot of light, which makes them shine bright orange. The Kinkajou’s feet can turn 180° and are covered with a thick layer of short hair. Its body is shorter than 61 cm (24 inches) if you don’t count its 40–57 cm (16–22 inch) tail. Adults weigh between 2 kg and 3.2 kg (4.4 to 7 pounds).
More about Kinkajous
Kinkajous are nocturnal and live in trees. They usually eat alone or in pairs but can also live in stable groups. The males in these groups groom each other and sleep in the same tree holes every night. Kinkajous make a lot of noise, including screams, barks, and softer sounds that have been called “sneezes.” It rarely leaves the trees because it mostly eats fruit and insects. When it’s dry, it drinks nectar from flowers. One or two babies are born during the spring or summer.
The kinkajou pet often doesn’t seem to be afraid of people. Sometimes, people keep it as a pet, namely a “honey bear,” but the animal cannot train to use a litter box. Kinkajous are gentle if you get them when they are young. But when they are angry, or someone scares them, their anal glands release a stinky smell, and they can also bite sharply. In a zoo, they can live for at least 20 years.
The cacomistle and, especially, the olingo are both in the Procyonidae family. But these animals don’t have tails that can grasp something.
Facts about Kinkajou
- So, do you know what is a kinkajou? The name “kinkajou,” which has the pronunciation of “kink-ah-Joo,” comes from an Algonquian word for “wolf.” The Algonquian people were living in North America, but the French took the word and changed it to mean what it means now. The Kinkajou has another name: the honey bear, night ape, and nightwalker. Some people call it “la llorona,” meaning “the crying woman” in Spanish, because of how loud it is.
- A kinkajou is a sister group in its taxonomic family. This means that it split off from the rest of the group about 20 million years ago by evolution.
- Only the Kinkajou and one other species in the order Carnivora have tails that can be grasped. The binturong is different from the other species.
- The Kinkajou’s tongue is about 5 inches long, which is quite long compared to its body size.
How Does Kinkajou Look Like?
So, now you know what is Kinkajou? The Kinkajou has a long body, rounded head and ears, a short muzzle, feet with webs, sharp claws, and fingers that are different from those of other animals. The most important thing about the Kinkajou is its long, prehensile tail, which can grip things and branches like a third limb. It’s strong enough that the Kinkajou can eat while hanging upside down. The tail also helps it to maintain balance and acts like a blanket on cold nights to keep it warm.
The Kinkajou differs in a number of other ways that help it move quickly through the trees. Because of the spine’s flexibility, it can turn almost 180 degrees between the pelvis and the head. The Kinkajou can also turn its feet around and run backward, making it easy to climb up and down trees head first.
The thick, woolly fur helps keep the skin dry in the constant rain. It is usually brown but can also be a darker shade of grey or a lighter shade of yellow, depending on where it is. The large, round eyes can reflect light, making them look bright orange.
People think that the Kinkajou was a solitary animal that didn’t care much about other members of its species. But more research shows that they do have a rich social life that revolves around small groups, namely troops. These groups, which have two males (a dominant male and a subordinate male), a female, and their young, work together to protect each other and mate.
The more they play, groom, and talk to each other, the closer they become. Kinkajous talk to each other by making sounds that are very loud and obvious, like hisses, barks, squeaks, and grunts. Each sound seems to have a purpose, but we don’t really know what that purpose is.
The Kinkajou spends most of its time on the tops of trees. It only comes down to the ground to look for food every once in a while. The kinkajou animal can jump from one branch to branch with surprising ease, thanks to its flexible limbs. They come out at night to eat and sleep with the rest of the group in hollow places or nests during the day.
The Kinkajou uses scent glands on its mouth, throat, and abdomen to mark its territory and attract mates. This territory is usually just big enough to provide enough food for the small group. People have said that the subordinate male’s main job is to enforce the boundaries of the territory and threaten trespassers, but this needs more studies yet.
Kinkajou Habitat: Where Does The Kinkajou Live?
The Kinkajou lives in Central and South America’s tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, coastal forests, and even dry forests. Its natural range goes from Mexico in the north to Brazil or Bolivia in the south. Kinkajous can live up to 8,000 feet above sea level, but they live much closer to sea level most of the time.
The kinkajou monkey is thought to be a species that eats both plants and animals, but there is evidence that it eats mostly fruit. Kinkajous are important to the environment because they move seeds and pollen around.
What Do The Kinkajous Eat?
Most of the food that kinkajous eat is fruit. They seem to choose the type of fruit on the basis of how many there are and how easy it is to get rather than on size, color, taste, etc. When it’s not looking for fruit, the kinkajou monkey can get food in many other ways. It can steal honey from beehives, drink nectar from flowers, or use its sharp claws to catch and kill small mammals or insects. Their long tongue is a vital tool that helps it get into cracks and holes it couldn’t get into otherwise.
Kinkajou Scientific Name
Potos flavus is the name of the Kinkajou in the scientific world. The Kinkajou (or Kinkachu) is the only living member of the genus Potos. It is not known where the name Potos came from. Flavus in Latin means yellow or blonde, which describes the color of the Kinkajou’s fur. People may not know that the Kinkajou is in the same family as raccoons and olingos.
This family has the name Procyonidae. These species have a lot in common, like small size, having a long tail, eating everything, and the ability to climb trees. They also evolved in Central and South America. On the basis is where they live, eight different subspecies of kinkajous are there.
What are the Kinkajou predators and threats?
Kinkajous don’t have a lot of natural enemies in the wild. Poachers and hunters are likelier to kill them for their fur and meat or sell them as exotic pets. Destructing forests is also a huge problem because kinkajous live in trees and can’t survive without them. Every day, we lose nearly 100,000 acres of rainforest, most of which is in the Americas.
What is the IUCN status of Kinkajou?
The IUCN Red List says that the Kinkajou is a species that is not in danger. Kinkajous like to hide in trees, so it’s hard to get a good count of how many there are. Numbers seem to be going down because of habitat loss and overhunting, which is made worse by this species’ low rate of reproduction. However, the decline isn’t bad enough yet to change Kinkajou’s conservation status.
Kinkajou as a Pet
The Kinkajou may look cute and friendly as a wild animal, but keeping this species in a home is not a good idea. There are a few reasons why this is the case. First, it would be hard to make the animal happy by recreating its natural environment. It is hardwired to want to climb on everything. Second, the Kinkajou has a tendency to lash out with its sharp claws or teeth when someone annoys or threatens them.
This can cause serious long-term damage. Third, most veterinarians don’t know how to treat kinkajous if they get sick. Even if none of these practical worries was a factor, some states might have made it illegal to own an exotic, wild species from the Procyonidae family or the Carnivora order. If you want one, you should first find out what the rules are in your area.
How Does Kinkajou Reproduce?
The Kinkajou (or Kikachu) is thought to be a species that has more than one partner. Even though there is usually only one female in a group, the dominant male can choose to mate with any females on the edge of his territory who are not in a group. The subordinate male does not guar to be able to mate with the only female in the group, but sometimes he may be able to. The kinkajou monkey can have babies at any time of the year, but the best time to do so seems to depend on where it lives, perhaps because of when the fruit is in season.
After up to 120 days of pregnancy, the female gives birth to one or sometimes two helpless babies in a tree hollow. As the main person caring for the baby, she is solely responsible for its care. The father may play with the baby sometimes but rarely meets its needs. The mother will keep feeding the baby solid food for another eight weeks after the baby is born. Due to the extra-long birthing and weaning times, she must feed a lot during this time.
If the kinkajou pet makes it through its youth, it will be sexually mature in about 18 to 20 months. It’s not clear how long the Kinkajou can live in the wild, but in captivity, the average lifespan is about 20 years, and the Kinkajou that lived the longest was around 40 years old.
What is a kinkajou?
The Kinkajou is a small mammal that eats everything. It has a tail that can be grasped, sharp claws, and scent glands.
Are kinkajous aggressive?
Most of the time, the Kinkajou is calm and friendly around people. But if it gets upset or riled up in any way, it can lash out and do a lot of damage.
Where do kinkajous live?
The Kinkajou lives in Central and South American rainforests, forests with evergreen trees, and even some dry forests.
How much money is a kinkajou?
Since getting a kinkajou pet isn’t easy, these rare animals can easily cost several thousand dollars.
Is a kinkajou a monkey?
No, the Kinkajou is not a monkey at all, even though it looks like one. The Kinkajou is more closely related to raccoons than it is to monkeys, which are primates. This is called “convergent evolution,” and it happens when two different groups develop similar traits to deal with the same environment. In this case, kinkajous and monkeys are both able to live in the upper canopies of tropical forests because they have tails that can be grasped.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.