Ring-tailed coati (Nasua nasua)

ring-tailed coati

These animals can be found next to the large walkthrough aviary at Fur Feathers and Scales

Fast facts

Status Least Concern

Size Head-body: 43-58cm; tail: 42-55cm. Males are larger than females

Weight 2-7.2kg

Gestation 74-77 days

Young 1-7

Life span Up to 17 years

What do I eat?

Ring-tailed coatis are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of invertebrates and fruit, such as beetles, scorpions, spiders and centipedes. They are also known to occasionally eat vertebrates such as rodents and fish.  Coatis are able to eat some spiny or poisonous invertebrates such as tarantulas and scorpions by using their forepaws to roll them on the ground, thus removing the hairs or spines. Coatis use their long snouts to search for food under leaves and logs and their long claws to dig out their prey.

Where do I live?

Ring-tailed coatis are found throughout most of South America, as far north as Colombia and Venezuela and as far south as Uruguay and the north of Argentina. This species lives in a variety of forested habitats including rainforest and dry scrub forest.  Coatis are good climbers, and able to climb small trees and vines, but if they feel threatened they will run to the ground to flee. 


Female ring-tailed coatis usually live in groups, but leave their group to give birth. Females will build a nest in a tree to give birth in. They return to their group with their young after five to six weeks. The usual litter size is 3 or 4 pups, but between 1 and 7 may be born. By 24 days old the pups are able to walk competently and they start to climb by about 28 days. 


The main predators of this species are larger cats such as jaguars, pumas and ocelots. Female coatis, as well as young males and sometimes adult males, form groups (known as ‘bands’).  This is thought to help them keep watch for predators because there are more animals to keep a look out.  Coatis will often stop moving and look around for predators.  Individuals at the edge of the group are more watchful than those in the middle.


Coatis are found across a wide area and don’t currently face any major threats. They are also found in many protected areas. 

Did you know?

Many types of bird, including hawks, woodcreepers and tanagers, follow groups of coatis so they can catch the prey that tries to escape the coatis.

Coatis have been seen in bands of up to 65 individuals, but groups sizes are more usually between 5 and 30.

Coatis in the same band will groom one another, help each other look after their young and work together to attack predators.

Coatis have an excellent sense of smell and can smell food from 20-25 metres away!


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A very happy group at the end of the dayBurbridge Family, 18th March 2015