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Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin

Ring-tailed coati

The ring-tailed coati, Nasua nasua, belongs to the same family as the raccoon. They are excellent climbers who build their nests in trees. It rummages around the ground with its nose in search of insects.


Class, order & family :

Mammalia, Carnivora, Procyonidae

Genus :


Species :


Lifespan :

14 to 17 years

Height and weight :

1.15 m long + 55-cm tail; 7 kg at the most

Gestation :

~ 75 days, 3 to 7 babies

Natural habitat :

tropical forests, gallery forests, dry forests, wet plains...

Diet :

fruit, invertebrates, lizards, eggs, small rodents...

Native region :

South America

IUCN status: 

LC least concerned

Way of life

The ring-tailed coati lives in small groups made up of females and young males while adult males are solitary.

Active during the day, the coati spends the night in the trees.

The breeding season occurs when availability of fruit is at its highest and varies according to the region. Mating takes place in the trees. A few days before giving birth, females move away to build nests made of intertwined lianas and twigs, similar to bird nests. Five to six weeks later, they return to the group accompanied by their offspring.

Distinguishing features

This small raccoon-like carnivore moves from branch to branch with agility, its long ringed tail acting as a pendulum and its strong claws giving it a solid grip. It has a very flexible ankle joint, which allows it to invert the position of its feet and come down the tree trunk upside down! On the ground, it rummages around the earth and forest floor with its long mobile snout looking for beetles, ants, spiders and scorpions. It has a very well-developed sense of smell which allows it unearth prey at a depth of 30 cm.


The coati’s name stems from an Indian word meaning “long nose”!

The ring-tailed coati is still hunted for its meat in some places. It is not yet threatened but its numbers are beginning to dwindle as a result of deforestation. On a local level, it can have a role in the dynamic of the forests by disseminating the seeds of the fruit that it ingests.

Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin
Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin
Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin
Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin
Coati roux © MNHN - F-G Grandin