We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Coati?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The coati is a relative of the raccoon, found mostly in Mexico, Central and South America. However, this animal is now frequently sighted in Texas and Arizona as well, having at some point crossed the border of Mexico. Since they are good at finding food, their introduction to the US may ultimately lead to coati populations throughout the US where climates are temperate.

There are several species: the ring-tailed, the white-nosed, and the island coati. An animal called the dwarf Mountain Coati derives from a different genus than the genus Nasua, which the three species belong to. The physical differences between the three recognized species are not significant.

Differences include lighter or darker coats, and marking on the tail and face. The white-nosed coati has the characteristic elongated black nose, but its muzzle is white, hence the term. Most often, US immigrant coatis are of the white nosed variety, which tends to most resemble the raccoon. Its coat is reddish, and is has a striped black tale.

The face and muzzle of the coati are easily distinguishable from the raccoon. The mouth and nose are much longer, and the tail is also considerably lengthier than the short bushy tale of a raccoon. They both, however, like to eat insects and fruit, and are good at solving problems. In terms of food, the coati prefers mostly insects as food, while the raccoon is known for raiding garbage cans and consuming small rodents.

Perhaps one of the reasons the coati has successfully transitioned to the US is the fact that they are primarily diurnal, doing most of their hunting and feeding during the day. The raccoon, conversely, is nocturnal. Thus the two species have little chance of colliding with each other.

The coati can vary in size depending on type, however adults tend to weigh about 16 pounds (7.26 kg). From tail to snout they measure approximately 4 feet (1.21 m). About half of that measurement is tail length. Body size is equivalent to a reasonably large house cat.

The female tends to live in groups of up to 30 members. Males are solitary, on the other hand, only entering the group for mating. Sexually mature females tend to breed once a year and have two to five offspring. A typical pregnancy lasts for about two months. The female will raise her young for the first two years. Female offspring typically join the group or band to which the mother belongs. Males are encouraged to leave.

In captivity, a coati can live for up to 15 years, but in the wild they tend to have a shorter life span. Typically, predators like the cougar, jaguar and panther view the them as prey. Though the animal can often be found on the ground rooting for insects, it tends to make nests in trees for itself and its young to avoid being seen by the large cats.

Coatis seem unafraid of humans, and some residents of South America keep them as pets. Like their raccoon cousins, they can never fully be considered tame, and it is really best to leave them in their natural environment. A wild coati should never be approached, as like the raccoon, they can be unpredictable, their bite is sharp, and they are vulnerable to rabies.

While both the ring-tailed and white nosed coati are faring well despite encroachments on their habitats, the island coati, living exclusively on Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico, is classified as endangered. In island populations, animals that lose their habitat have nowhere else to go. This has led to a significant decline in numbers. The World Wildlife Foundation is currently working on creating a protected area for the island population, so its numbers can be restored.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon985199 — On Jan 14, 2015

I stumbled across a Coati not knowing what it was. As soon as I got to the hotel, I looked it up. Thanks to wiseGEEK, I know what it is.

By anon156606 — On Feb 28, 2011

In Mazatlan Mexico I ran across a ring-tailed coati, not knowing what it was, I was rather nervous only being approximately 10 feet from it.

He looked up at me and then continued about his business as if I was not even there. Thank heaven.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.