White-nosed coatis are reddish brown to black with lighter underparts. The coati's face has black and gray markings with a white spot above and below each eye, on each cheek and around the end of the muzzle. The tail is banded with black rings. The coati's long, highly mobile snout is well adapted to investigating crevices and holes, and they have strong claws for digging.
White-nosed coatis are found in North, Central and South America, ranging from Arizona to Argentina. This species can be found in a variety of habitats, including dry, open forests and tropical woodlands.
Male coatis younger than two years of age and females, both related and unrelated, will group together in bands of four to 20 individuals. Adult, male coatis are solitary animals, except during breeding season. Coatis have been called "coatimundi" or "coati-mondi" meaning "lone coati" in Guarani, a native language of Brazil. The name came about as a result of biologists describing solitary male coatis that they believed at the time to be a separate species.
White-nosed coatis are considered a species of least concern on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. They are protected under CITES Appendix III by Honduras, and are offered protection as an endangered species in New Mexico.
The primary threats to coatis are habitat loss and hunting. Coatis are hunted for their meat and their pelts and are sometimes captured in traps intended for other species or accidentally killed by hunters seeking other animals. Coatis are also occasionally kept as pets. Distemper and rabies affect coati populations, and natural predators include cats, boas and large birds.
This species suffered significant population declines in the 1960s but has since recovered. White-nosed coatis have extended their range into the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century.