Coatis, specifically white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica) and South American coatis (Nasua nasua), are South American raccoons, commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as coatimundi. They are related to both kinkajous and North American raccoons. Coati are omnivores with a lot of energy and, just like their North American cousins, they forage for their food in the wild. Some people opt to care for them as pets but these wild animals are not ideal for most households.
If you are curious about what a coati is or are considering one as a pet this guide will point you in the right direction.
Size of Coatimundi
Coatis can weigh up to 18 pounds when they are full grown. Males, who live by themselves in the wild, are usually larger than females who live in groups.
About Pet Coatimundi
Known for their inquisitive personalities, these South American raccoons are definitely unique. They are diurnal (awake during the day), eat many different foods, can live about 14 years, and act like permanent toddlers. If coatis aren't bottle raised at a young age and continually socialized they can become very violent and dangerous, much like a pet primate. Therefore, to increase your chances of having a loving and enjoyable pet, be sure to provide plenty of enrichment, exercise, and attention to your coati.
Children should not be allowed to play with coati. Coati can bite, especially if they don't want you to do something, so coati are not good pets for most people.
Coatis also climb and swim very well. They are high energy animals that need a lot of space, especially when they are young so you will need a large and secure enclosure to house them.
Feeding Pet Coatimundi
Pet coati need to have the proper dietary ratios fed to them to stay healthy and live a long life.
Aim for the following when you are creating your coati's diet plan:
- 60% High grade, grain free dog food
- 10% Fresh fruit
- 20% Poultry, beef, or eggs
- 10-20% Vegetables
Treats can include insects such as gut loaded crickets and mealworms and pieces of cereal or crackers can also be offered. Prickly pear fruits are a favorite of coatis and can be used as a training reward. Be sure to stay away from sweet or salty foods though when treating your coati. Diseases related to poor diets and unwanted behaviors such as food aggression or being picky can develop if you spoil your coati too much with these foods.
When feeding coatis you should always scatter the food about their enclosure and hide it inside and under objects to encourage a natural foraging behavior.
Diseases of Coatimundi
Coati are not commonly seen as pets but rectal prolapses are often seen from straining to defecate due to parasites and/or diarrhea. Malnutrition is also seen due to an improper diet and if multiple coatis are housed together there may be injuries from fighting.
Vaccines for Pet Coatimundi
There are no licensed vaccines for coatis but many veterinarians will use canine and/or feline vaccines.
Neutering and Spaying Coatimundi
Male coatis can become very aggressive once they are sexually mature.
Neutering can be performed by an exotics veterinarian and is recommended before the coati reaches 6 months of age. Females can become aggressive when they are in heat so spaying them is recommended for a more even tempered coati.
Declawing and Tooth Removal of Coatimundi
These are very unnatural things to do to any animal including a coati. Declawing and healthy tooth removal are controversial issues. Coatis have sharp claws and teeth for a reason and removing them to prevent injuries to their owners is not appropriate. If you are not prepared for everything a coati is then you should not have one as a pet.