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Two rambunctious young coatis (kə-ˈwä-tēs) are now capturing the hearts of our visitors! We received these boys from the Staten Island Zoo, where an employee hand-raised them in her home. Coatis are intelligent, destructive, and mischievous—yet some people keep them as pets! It’s difficult enough “puppy-proofing” your house- imagine coati-proofing. They are excellent jumpers, very strong and they get their noses into anything.
Our coatis are Cody and Jasper and will be 2 years old in April. Their exhibit includes many climbing structures, such as trees, vines and high branches. It is easy to keep them active, because they play with everything. We try to bring out their natural behaviors by hiding food to encourage foraging. They love many different scents, so we often use perfumes or spices to interest them as well. Since they were hand-raised, they love squeaky toys. The boys spend a lot of time playing and fighting- like any two young brothers do! Visitors have noticed they are very interested in people. Many times per day we see coatis and children eye to eye or hand to hand with just glass in between them.
White-nosed coatis are adaptable to many habitats. They range as far north as southeastern Arizona and New Mexico, and as far south as Ecuador. Our two boys are living in the nocturnal hall of the Great Southwest building. While coatis are typically diurnal, they often adjust their habits to accommodate their lifestyle. If their goal is to raid a human settlement for food, they will become nocturnal. ZooAmerica’s coatis have been very active during the “night hours,” because of feedings and playtime. During the “day hours,” when the lights are on, they sleep.
Now is a great time to see them up close since there are fewer people in the zoo during the winter. Their most active times are around 10-11am and 2-4:30pm.