Coati (Brown-nosed)

Scientific name 
Nasua nasua
A coati at ZSL London Zoo

What they look like

Coatis are members of the racoon family. They have brown, grey or rust-red coats and a long brown and yellow ringed tail which they use to balance as they climb and walk across slim branches. They have a narrow skull and long squidgy nose that they can snuffle for food in crevices with. They have a dark snout with white patches around their cheeks, eyes and neck. Amazingly they can reverse their ankle joints in order to run down trees head first!

Animal facts

Coatis are largely diurnal, meaning active in the day, they spend much of their time foraging in trees and on the ground. At night time they sleep up in the trees curled into balls with their noses tucked into their bellies. In a way they act as farmers in the forest, picking and eating fruit and then dispersing seeds in their droppings – effectively planting new fruit trees. Females live with their young in groups of up to 30 whereas males remain lone wanderers.

What they eat

As opportunistic feeders, coatis eat whatever is available to them depending on the season. This includes a variety of fruit and invertebrates like spiders, crabs and millipedes.   They will also eat lizards, snakes, eggs and rodents.


Forest and forest edges.

Where they live

South America.


Habitat loss due to deforestation. These animals are also hunted by locals for their meat. 

Life span
14 years