What Exactly is a Coatimundi?

Unless you spend a lot of time in southwest North America, or Central and South America, you’ve probably never seen or heard of the coatimundi, but you’d be surprised by how much you already know about them. As a member of the raccoon family, they share many traits with their more well-known cousin. They are about the size of a large house cat, have a ringed tail, and are adept at climbing trees.

Also, just like their cousin, they’re great at creating mischief and begging for food when they venture into human habitats. As omnivorous creatures, they enjoy snacking on foods such as insects, fruit, rodents, lizards, and small snakes–pretty much anything they can find. And they find a lot by using their powerful sense of smell to locate food and then using their sharp claws to tear apart rotting logs.

Photo of a Coatimundi

There are a few things that set them apart from their common raccoon cousins. First, they’re active during the day, preferring to sleep high up in trees at night. They’re also pack animals, with females and babies traveling together in groups of up to 30. Male coatis leave the pack around the age of two and females will separate each spring to give birth. That means that every spring, they add up to six more babies to the pack.

One of their distinguishing features is their communication within the pack. When they’re foraging for food, they not only raise their tails to keep track of each other, they also constantly talk. Their talking consists of a variety of chirping, grunting, and snorting. When they’re surprised, they jump into trees and let out a series of clicking and woofing noises.

In addition to being able to climb trees very well, they have ankles that can turn 180 degrees, which allow them to climb back down head first. This is especially helpful since they sleep in and run away from predators in trees.

One of the more intriguing characteristics of the coati is their ability to digest some of the best coffee beans in the world. The way that they do this is through a natural process whereby the enzymes in their stomachs break down the proteins of the coffee fruit that produce a sour flavor. That absence of sourness allows the coffee bean to develop a distinct taste when they’re roasted.

Try some today and see why our gourmet coffee is some of the most desired in the world.

Oh, and also look to see how cute they are when they’re babies!