Costa RicaCosta Rica

kids saving the rainforest attraction kinky the kinkajou 
 - Costa Rica

Kinkajous

Kinkajous

Hilights

  • Scientific Name: Potus flavus
  • Status in the Wild: Common
  • Habitat: Cloud Forests, Rainforests, Tropical Dry Forests
  • Diet: Omnivore

This mammal is also known as the honey bear, due to its proclivity for flower nectar and sweet fruits. In Spanish, kinkajous are called "martillas" or "martas."

read more close

Kinkajous are mostly nocturnal and live in dense forest canopy and tree hollows. An average adult weighs 4-7 pounds, measures 16-24 inches in length and has a 16-22 inch tail. Their coats are thick with two layers of fur: a gray undercoat and gold or brown-gray outer coat. These mammals are marked by small ears and proportionally large eyes. Though they live in trees and have prehensile tails, kinkajous are part of the Procyonidae family and are closely related to raccoons and coatimundis.

Kinkajous are omnivores; their diet consists of fruits, flowers, young leaves and legumes along with insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs. To aid in their arboreal escapades, kinkajous have flexible knees and ankles that can rotate 180º, allowing the animals to descend trees headfirst or hang from branches. They also have very long tongues ideal for collecting nectar and tasting flowers.

Little research has been conducted on kinkajou social arrangements. Scientists believe the species is most solitary, and home ranges – approximately 25-100 acres – may be exclusive to one kinkajou of each sex. However, kinkajous have also been spotted living in small groups, and individuals have been observed playing, foraging and sleeping together for several months before separating.

Habitat: 

Kinkajous are native to Central and South America, from southern Mexico south through northern Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. In Costa Rica, they inhabit forested areas up to 7,200 feet in elevation. Since they are nocturnal, the best chance of sighting one is on a night tour, especially in Monteverde and along the Osa Peninsula. 

Reproduction: 

Kinkajou mating rituals in the wild have rarely been studied, so little is known about their reproduction. Scientists do know that kinkajou gestation lasts about four months, and mothers give birth to one baby; litters of two offspring are possible, but uncommon. Male kinkajous reach sexual maturity at 18 months, while females will not be sexually mature until three years of age. 

Status in the Wild: 

Though they are classified as common, of least concern, kinkajous cannot survive in deforested areas and therefore are very sensitive to habitat loss. Kinkajou hunting is not permitted in Costa Rica, but the species is sometimes poached for its pelt, or captured for export on the international exotic pet market.