Mammal Species of the World
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The white-nosed coati ranges from southeastern Arizona through Mexico and Central America and into western Colombia and Ecuador. (Macdonald 1985)
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: Central Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and southern Texas south through Mexico (except Baja California) and Central America to northernmost Colombia, South America (Wozencraft, in Wilson and Reeder 1993). In Arizona and New Mexico, breeds from the Animas Mountains in southwestern New Mexico west to the Baboquivari Mountains in Arizona, and north as far as the Gila River; occurrences from farther north likely represent occasional wanderers or released captives (Gompper 1995). Current distribution and breeding status in Texas is uncertain.
The body length is 80-130 cm, over half of that being the tail. Their coat is a grayish brown with "silver grizzling" on the sides of the arms (Macdonald 1985). The snout is long and pointed with a flexible end. The face has a white band near the end of the nose. There is a white spot above and below each eye as well as on each cheek. Touches of white are also present on the underside of the throat and belly. The coati is plantigrade with shorter forelegs than hindlegs. The feet are black and have naked soles. The forefeet also have bent claws. The tapering tail of extreme length is covered with black rings and held erect while walking. The coat color and muzzle markings are the only physical characteristics dissimilar from its relatives the ringtailed coati (Nasua nasua) and the mountain coati (Nasuella olivacea).
Range mass: 3 to 5 kg.
Range length: 80 to 130 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average basal metabolic rate: 6.733 W.
- Macdonald, D. 1985. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File, Inc..
- Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press University Press University Press.
- Parker, S. 1989. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Hastings-on-Hudson, New York: The Language Service, Inc..
Length: 134 cm
Weight: 12200 grams
Size in North America
Range: 750-1,350 mm
Range: "2.5-5.5 kg "
See Gompper (1995).
White-nosed coatis will occupy many different types of habitat, from tropical lowlands to dry, high-altitude forests. (Macdonald 1985)
Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest
Other Habitat Features: agricultural
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: Broken tropical forests of coastal plains, pine forest, mesquite grassland, oak scrub. In southwestern U.S.: canyons (oak-sycamore-walnut, oak-pine, shrub-grass); usually near water. Dens in crevice, under tree roots, in cave or mine, or in hollow trees (Leopold 1959).
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
White-nosed coatis are omnivores that primarily eat insects. They will travel up to 2000 meters in a single day in a quest for food. They forage by keeping their muzzle down close to the forest floor and sniff around to find beetles, spiders, scorpions, ants, termites, grubs, centipedes, and even land crabs. When plentiful, fruit is also eaten. Occasionally coatis may search for small vertebrates, such as mice, lizards, and frogs. When hunting, coatis will "force vertebrates to the ground with their paws and kill by a bite to the head" (Parker et al. 1990). (Macdonald 1985)
Comments: Omnivorous. Preferred foods are fruits and berries, but bulbs, roots, leaves, insects, worms, spiders, lizards, small mammals, birds, and bird eggs also are eaten. May eat cultivated crops. Forages on ground and in trees.
Often travels in groups of a dozen or more individuals; groups consist of mothers and young males and females during much of year. Males solitary most of year (Hoffmeister 1986).
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Comments: Some activity at night but primarily diurnal; most active in morning and evening. Active throughout the year.
Status: wild: 14.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
In February or March, the most dominant male in a female band's range will be allowed to enter it ranks, first through grooming and other submissive behaviors. Once accepted into the group, the male will breed with each member of the band in a tree, and is soon afterwards driven away from the group. This is because they are known to kill juveniles. The gestation period of the white-nosed coati is 77 days. About 3 to 4 weeks before giving birth, the female will depart the band to build a nest, most often in a palm tree. Between 2 and 7 young are born, and remain in the nest for several weeks. They weigh only 100-180 grams at birth and are dependent on their mother, who only leaves the nest to find food. The newborns will open their eyes at 11 days and be weaned after 4 months. After 5 months the mother and young descend from the nest and rejoin their group. A short time afterwards the male that mated with the band will appear for a short time, several days in a row in order to recognize their young. Adult body sized is reached by 15 months. Sexual maturity is reached by three years if age in males and two years of age in females. (Macdonald 1985, Nowak 1999)
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 140 g.
Average gestation period: 78 days.
Average number of offspring: 4.17.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 712 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 712 days.
Brief pair-bond. Gestation lasts about 77 days. Young are born in early summer (June-July). Litter size is 4-6.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Nasua narica
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nasua narica
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
This species of coati was very plentiful in the 1950s, but suffered major population declines in the early 1960s for unknown reasons. Populations have since been recovering and this population increase has been accompanied by a northward extension of their range. The threats to their numbers are legal hunting by humans and several predators including cats, boas, and large predatory birds. (Nowak 1999)
The species is rated "Lower Risk" by the IUCN. The government of Honduras has listed its population of the species in Appendix III of CITES, placing restrictions on international trade in their animals.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
White-nosed coatis will only occasionally cause crop damage, and rarely take small farm animals. (Nowak 1999)
Coatis are hunted for their meat and may also be kept as pets. Their fur has no value. (Parker 1989)
The white-nosed coati (Nasua narica), also known as coatimundi //,   is a species of coati and a member of the family Procyonidae (raccoons and relatives). Local names include pizote, antoon, and tejón. It weighs about 4–6 kg (8.8–13.2 lb). However, males are much larger than females, and small females weigh as little as 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) and large males as much as 12.2 kg (27 lb). On average, the total length is about 110 cm (43 in), about half of that being the tail length.
Habitat and range
White-nosed coatis inhabit wooded areas (dry and moist forests) of the Americas. They are found at any altitude from sea level to 3,000 m (9,800 ft), and from as far north as southeastern Arizona and New Mexico, through Mexico and Central America, to far northwestern Colombia (Gulf of Urabá region, near Colombian border with Panama). There has been considerable confusion over its southern range limit, but specimen records from most of Colombia (only exception is far northwest) and Ecuador are all South American coatis.
Coatis from Cozumel Island have been treated as a separate species, the Cozumel Island coati, but the vast majority of recent authorities treat it as a subspecies, N. narica nelsoni, of the white-nosed coati. They are smaller than white-nosed coatis from the adjacent mainland (N. n. yucatanica), but when compared more widely to white-nosed coatis the difference in size is not as clear. The level of other differences also support its status as a subspecies rather than separate species.
White-nosed coatis have also been found in the US state of Florida, where they are an introduced species. It is unknown precisely when introduction occurred; an early specimen in the Florida Museum of Natural History, labeled an "escaped captive", dates to 1928. There are several later documented cases of coatis escaping captivity, and since the 1970s there have been a number of sightings, and several live and dead specimens of various ages have been found. These reports have occurred over a wide area of southern Florida, and there is probable evidence of breeding, indicating that the population is well established.
They are omnivores, preferring small vertebrates, fruits, carrion, insects, and eggs. They can climb trees easily, where the tail is used for balance, but they are most often on the ground foraging. Their predators include boas, raptors, hunting cats, and Tayras (Eira barbara). They readily adapt to human presence; like raccoons, they will raid campsites and trash receptacles. They can be domesticated easily, and have been verified experimentally to be quite intelligent.
While the raccoon and ringtail are nocturnal, coatis are active by day, retiring during the night to a specific tree and descending at dawn to begin their daily search for food. However, their habits are adjustable, and in areas where they are hunted by humans for food, or where they raid human settlements for their own food, they might become more nocturnal. Adult males are solitary, but females and sexually immature males form social groups. They use many vocal signals to communicate with one another, and also spend time grooming themselves and each other with their teeth and claws. During foraging times, the young cubs are left with a pair of babysitters, similar to meerkats. The young males and even some females tend to play-fight. Many of the coatis will have short fights over food.
- Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Samudio, R., Kays, R., Cuarón, A.D., Pino, J.L. & Helgen, K. (2008). Nasua narica. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
- Nasua narica (Coatimundi, White-nosed Coati) at International Union for Conservation of Nature
- Animal Diversity Web at University of Michigan. "Coatis are also referred to in some texts as coatimundis. The name coati or coatimundi is Tupian Indian in origin."
- "Tejón", which means badger, is mainly used in Mexico.
- David J. Schmidly; William B. Davis (1 August 2004). The mammals of Texas. University of Texas Press. pp. 167–. ISBN 978-0-292-70241-7. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
- North American Mammals: Nasua narica. Mnh.si.edu. Retrieved on 2011-09-15.
- Coati (Nasua narica). Wc.pima.edu. Retrieved on 2011-09-15.
- Reid, Fiona A. (1997). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. pp. 259–260. ISBN 0-19-506400-3. OCLC 34633350.
- Decker, D. M. (1991). Systematics Of The Coatis, Genus Nasua (Mammalia, Procyonidae). Proceedings of The Biological Society of Washington 104: 370–386
- Guzman-Lenis, A. R. (2004). Preliminary Review of the Procyonidae in Colombia. Acta Biológica Colombiana 9(1): 69–76
- Eisenberg, J., and K. H. Redford (1999). Mammals of the Neotropcs: The Central Neotropics. Vol. 3, p. 288. ISBN 0-226-19541-4
- Kays, R. (2009). White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica), pp. 527–528 in: Wilson, D. E., and R. A. Mittermeier, eds. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 1, Carnivores. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1
- Simberloff, Daniel; Don C. Schmitz; Tom C. Brown (1997). Strangers in Paradise: Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida. Island Press. p. 170. ISBN 1-55963-430-8. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Decker (1991) regarded N. narica of North and Central America as specifically distinct from N. nasua of South America. Jones et al. (1992) and Wozencraft (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005) followed Decker in recognizing N. nasua and N. narica as distinct species. See Decker (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis on procyonid genera (analysis based on skeletal and soft morphological characters).