What Are Some Facts About Kinkajous?


Quick Answer

Kinkajous have large eyes, furry bodies and prehensile tails that make them resemble primates, but they are actually close relatives of raccoons and coatis. Kinkajous are omnivorous mammals in the Procyonidae family. Their habitat is typically tropical forest in southern Mexico, Brazil and Central America. These arboreal creatures effortlessly travel from tree to tree and hang upside down from branches.

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Most kinkajous measure 32 to 52 inches in length, including their elongated tails, according to the Maryland Zoo. Their tails are able to hold and grasp objects, allowing kinkajous to swing from trees while eating and to balance upright on branches. Kinkajous have sharp claws, flexible backs and reversible feet to help them maneuver between trees in dense forest. They make homes in tree dens and live in small groups, resting throughout the day and often heading off separately to forage for food at night.

A kinkajou's hearing is sensitive to extremely subtle noises, such as a slithering snake, according to the San Diego Zoo. They occasionally eat small invertebrates, insects and eggs, but the majority of a kinkajou's diet comes from flower and fruit trees. They use their long tongues to get honey from beehives or to extract nectar from flowers. Their feeding habits help pollinate local flora because pollen sticks to their faces as they feed and is transferred to other plants. When hunted by predators such as eagles, boas and jaguars, kinkajous cling tightly to their attackers and bite repeatedly.

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