English Name: white-nosed coati
Synonyms: Nasua nasua
Spanish Name: chulo, cholugo, solitario, coatí norteño
View all images of Nasua narica
This species is present in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's live collection.
Coati, coatimundi (Nasua narica)
The coati is a curious-looking beast, longer than a racoon (though not as husky in the body), with a long nose and a facial mask. Its very long tail is not as distinctly ringed as are those of the raccoon and ringtail.
Coatis inhabit mountain canyons with oak and sycamore in the summer, sometimes moving to lower-elevation riparian canyons or passing through desert areas in the winter.
• Diet: Coatis are omnivores. The coati eats a lot of grubs, beetles, and other invertebrates, and also fruits and nuts, rodents, eggs, snakes, lizards, and carrion.
• Behavior: Coatis dig in the soil and leaf litter using their long claws or their noses to turn up grubs, worms, or other invertebrates. They also turn over large rocks with their front paws to search for invertebrates, lizards, and snakes.
Coatis are very social animals, living in bands of up to 20 or even 30 or more. The bands consist of females and their young. Adult males are not welcome, except during mating season, although lone males may follow a group at other times. A pregnant female leaves the group to deliver her four to six babies, rejoining the group several weeks later with her new offspring.
Coatis are diurnal, active mostly in the morning and late afternoon, then spending the night in trees or caves. As coatis forage through an area they travel with their 2 foot (.6 m) long tails held vertically.
Procyonids: Raccoons, Ringtails & Coatis
Among the most unusual, most handsomely marked, and least known of our desert animals are the procyonids — the raccoon, ringtail, and coatimundi. The raccoon is the most familiar of these, but mostly because people have seen it in other parts of the country. Many are surprised to learn that the raccoon does quite well in the Sonoran Desert, as long as there is water somewhere nearby. You can easily follow raccoons' distinctive tracks along trails leading directly to suburban desert swimming pools.
The ringtail is Arizona's state mammal, though few people have ever seen one in the wild. Large black eyes, big pink ears set on a tiny face, and a long black-and-white ringed tail that looks like a feather boa make this appealing little animal look almost cuddly, but it is really a very efficient predator. One can sometimes be seen at night as it prowls around its rocky canyon home, peering into niches and cracks where a mouse or an insect might be hiding.
Even though the coati is diurnal and lives in social bands of up to 30 or more animals, most people never see them, unless they make frequent visits to the oak-sycamore canyons and riparian areas coatis favor. Like the raccoon and the ringtail, coatis forage both on the ground and in trees, and are omnivores.