South American Coati

(Nasua nasua)


South American Coati IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The South American Coati has a red-brown to grey coat, with lighter underparts. The short, powerful feets are black and it has a black to brown tail with yellow rings. The narrow, elongated head ends in a very flexible snout which it pokes under rocks and into crevices in search for food. The ears are small and rounded. The head-body length of this species is 41 to 67 cm, with a tail length of 32 to 69 cm and they weight from 3,5 to 6 kg.


Coatis are diurnal terrestrial and arboreal. Males are often solitary, females and young travel in groups of up to 30 animals. Members of active groups emit constant soft whining sounds. Alarm calls consist of explosive woofs and clicks. When alarmed, all members of a group climb halfway up a tree to look. After a few moments they drop down and disperse in the undergrowth. At night, coatis sleep in a tree top.


Coatis are opportunistic omnivorous feeders eating fruit, invertebrates and small vertebrates.

Did you know?
That coatis are so adapted to arboreal life that they even mate in the trees, and build nests for their young among the branches?


Name (Scientific) Nasua nasua
Name (English) South American Coati
Name (French) Coati roux, Coati à queue annelée
Name (German) Südamerikanischen Nasenbären
Name (Spanish) Coatí de América del Sur, Coatí común
Local names Brazil: Cuati, Cuatimundé, Colombia: Cuzumbo, Ecuador: Tejón, Peru: Achuni, Suriname: Neusbeer, Kwaskwasi
CITES Status Appendix III (Uruguay)
CMS Status Not listed



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Range South America, ranging from Colombia and Venezuela in the north to Uruguay and northern Argentina in the south
Habitat Usually found in forested areas: tropical rainforest, riverine forest, mountain forest up to 2500 m above sea level.
Wild population Unknown, but decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 638 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

South American Coati


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 78 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The South-American coati is a common species, which is frequently kept by zoos because it is diurnal, social, and always very active, i.e. an attractive zoo animal, which is a good ambassador species for the conservation of neotropical forests.