White-nosed coatis are small mammals native to North, Central and South America, from Arizona to Argentina. They have strong claws and long, highly mobile snouts well adapted for foraging in crevices and holes for food. Their thick, semi-prehensile tails are used for balance.

Physical Description

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.  


The length of the white-nosed coati's head and body is about 26 inches (66 centimeters), and their tails are almost as long as their bodies. The coati's semi-prehensile tail is used for balance and is often held erect above the body. White-nosed coatis weigh approximately 6.5 to 13 pounds (3 to 6 kilograms).

Native Habitat

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.

Food/Eating Habits

Coatis eat fruit, invertebrates, small rodents and lizards. They forage for food on the ground and occasionally in trees.

Social Structure

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.

Conservation Efforts

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.

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