In Panamá: The Coatímundí
Barry and I are here in Panamá and have had several experiences, including: 1) seeing the Panamá Canal – which is a huge, impressive engineering feat, 2) learning of one intriguing indigenous people, the Guna Yala, and 3) traveling with locals on a most luxurious bus, a double decker, quiet – even the infants – for the eight-hour ride between Panamá City and David (“DawVeed”), Panamá.
But what has surprised me the most so far is an animal I’ve never seen before – the coatímundí or coatí. One is here where we are staying in David at Bambú Hostel: http://www.bambuhostel.com
Image from: http://www.garlynzoo.com/coatimundi.gif
Coatís are found all over Central and South America – some even in Texas and New Mexico. The story at Bambú Hostel is that a few years ago, someone staying here saw a coatí in the road, got a sheet, threw it over her, and brought her to the hostel. She has been here ever since, which shows she is smart. I’m calling her Anna, the coatí. So far, she has taken the bread, mixed nuts (only a few), bananas, apples, hard-boiled egg, and almond/coconut milk that I’ve given her. It’s probably a wonder that she isn’t fat. I’ve heard she loves raw warm chicken eggs too.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
coatimundi (kōät´ēmŭn´dē, –mŏŏn´–) or coati (kōät´ē), omnivore of North and South America related to the raccoon. The coatimundi has a long snout, an elongated body, and a long bushy tail banded with dark rings. The coat color varies from yellowish brown or reddish brown to black. The males are significantly larger than the females and may be more than 50 in. (127 cm) long and may weigh up to 25 lb (11 kg). Active both day and night, the coati is a forest dweller and an agile tree climber. It eats lizards, birds, and fruit and uses its long mobile snout to grub for insects and roots. On the ground, its short forelegs give it a bearlike gait as it lumbers along with its tail erect. Females and their young travel in bands, but males are solitary (known as “coatimundis” ) and join the band only in the mating season. The young, typically four to six in number, are born following a gestation period of about seventy-seven days. The species Nasua narica is native to SW United States. N. nasua, the ring-tailed coatimundi, is a related species that ranges from Mexico to Peru. Coatis are often raised as pets in Mexico. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Procyonidae.
Another traveler at Bambú Hostel, Beth, a young U.S. marine biologist who is working in Costa Rica for turtle research and preservation, said that she thought Anna might be actually an Andy since she/he is big and alone. So I consulted, http://www.zoo-zoom.com/Coatimundi.htm. That source says, “The females average between 9 to 14 pounds with the males attaining weights somewhat larger about 12 to 17 pounds.” So although Anna could just be a bit overweight (and we can guess why), this coatí is probably a male since he seems quite happy to be by himself.
The source, http://www.zoo, says,”Because of their intelligence they can become bored if not kept adequately occupied. Although the coati will remain lovable and friendly after reaching adult age they may have infrequent rebellious outbursts at between age 6 months to 1 year (similar to human teenage years).”
Places like Janda Exotics sell them as pets: http://www.jandaexotics.com/Coatimundi.html
However, coatímuntí are wild animals. It’s probably better to let one adopt you, and let it come and go as it will – as Andy, the coati, does here at the Bambú Hostel, in David, Panamá.
Barry just came into our room to tell me that Andy knocked over the aluminum coffee urn, spilling hot liquid and coffee grinds all over the floor of the outdoor kitchen.
Coatís are curious, intelligent, active animals. I’m glad I can interact with Andy here. You may want to look for them in the wild too.