Creature Feature: White-nosed coati

The white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) is a medium sized, omnivorous, mammal. You can find the white-nosed coati in the mountain and riparian areas of the Sky Island region. The coati ranges from the Southwest US, through Mexico, to Colombia in South America. There is another species of coati called the South American coati (Nasua nasua), but you can tell them apart because of the white-nosed coati’s white snout.

Coatis are in the Procyonidae family, other local species like the raccoon and ringtail also are in this family. They all have distinctive striped tails, with coatis having the longest which they hold up when the forage. And often on Sky Island Alliance’s wildlife cameras, the tail is the only thing we will see of the coati.

White-nosed coatis have an interesting social lifestyle. The females and young are very social forming troops of up to 20 individuals, however, male coatis are solitary. This social dynamic led biologists to believe for many years that the two sexes were completely separate species, just based on their behavior! This is how the name coatimundi came about, referring to the lone male, and coati referring to the social females.

White-nosed coati fact sources


Animal Diversity Web

National Park Service