The Kinkajou also called a honey bear, is an interesting fellow people look forward to meeting when they visit the park. While the name may not be very familiar, the kinkajou is actually related to something far more familiar, the raccoon. Today we’re going to learn what makes this rain forest mammal so unique.
The kinkajou is distinguished by their round head, large eyes, and long prehensile tails. They usually don’t weigh more than about 10 pounds and are covered with a soft coat that changes colors based on the season. They also have short, but sharp claws and green or yellow eyes. Females tend to be smaller than males but otherwise have similar features.
Officially, the kinkajou is a carnivore, and it has the sharp teeth that go with it. In reality, though, they are omnivores and eat leaves, flowers, and lots of fruits, especially figs. They might also eat insects when convenient, and they have long tongues that make it easy to enjoy nectar from flowers as well.
The Kinkajou is native to Central and South America, where it lives in tropical rain forests and mountain forests. They tend to congregate in fruit-bearing trees and spend a great deal of time in treetops, which they can easily navigate with their prehensile tail. They are nocturnal animals, which is why people don’t often see them in the wild.
The Kinkajou is largely solitary, but they do gather at times to socialize, play, and sometimes to sleep. They also may gather in order to forage for food, which they can be seen doing after dusk. They can be territorial as well, driving outsiders out of their area with aggressive displays.
The female kinkajou is pregnant for up to 118 days and gives birth to a single offspring at a time. Babies start to eat solid food at around eight weeks. They quickly become capable of climbing and navigating through trees, and usually start climbing by themselves in around three months. Female baby kinkajous stay with their mothers for around two years, which is longer than their male counterparts.
The kinkajou is quite an interesting animal and fairly striking to see in person with their extra-large eyes and distinct features. Stop by and meet one during your next visit and be sure to tell us all about it on Facebook!