South American Coati

Nasua nasua

©Adriano Gambarini

Standard English Name

South American Coati

Scientific Name

Nasua nasua

Brazilian common name/s


Distribution Map - IUCN

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Physical Description

It is an active animal with a length of 70 to 120 cm and weighs 3 to 6 kg. The coat is a brownish maroon across the back and yellowish-brown on the ventral part. The tail is ringed by white bands on a dark background. Coatis have a long thin snout with a flexible tip.

Ecology and Habitat

Occurs in South America from west of the Andes to Argentina. They are found mainly in forested areas and are active mostly during the day.

Coatis have a very interesting social system in which all females and males up to two years old form groups of 4 to 20 individuals. Males more than 2 years are expelled from the group and become solitary. During the breeding season, which coincides with the period of greatest fruit abundance, a male is accepted into each group, but remains totally submissive to the females. In other seasons, during which the males feed predominantly on live prey, they could threaten the small young.

This behaviour led to the belief that there were two distinct species, one with solitary individuals and the other with group behaviour. This is not true, as explained above.

They look for food in trees and on the floor with their long snout that is well adapted to foraging. Their diet varies seasonally and includes fruit, insects and small vertebrates.

Gestation lasts 10 to 11 weeks, during which the female separates from the group and builds a nest in a tree. Usually 2 to 7 young are born that at 5 weeks old, leave the nest and join the group.

General information

Average values with minimum and maximum in parentheses

Body / tail length (cm):

(47-58)a / (42-55) a


Omnivorous a,b

Weight (kg) / Height (cm):

5(3-7) a,b / -

Living area (km2):

(0.23-12) b,c

Number of puppies / Gestation (days):

3(1-7)b / 74-77b

Longevity (years):


Social structure:

Alone and in groups a

Activity pattern:

Day a

a (Emmons & Feer 1997), b (Gompper & Decker 1998), c (Beisiegel & Mantovani 2006)

Online links

IUCN redlist ( presents a synthesis of current knowledge about distribution and conservation status.


Alves-Costa, C. P., & Eterovick, P. C. (2007). Seed dispersal services by coatis (Nasua nasua, Procyonidae) and their edundancy with other frugivores in southeastern Brazil. Acta Oecologica, 32, 77-92.

Alves-Costa, C. P., Da Fonseca, G. A. B., & Christofaro, C. (2004). Variation in the diet of the brown-nosed coati (Nasua nasua) in southeastern Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy, 85, 478-482.

Beisiegel, B. M., & Mantovani, W. (2006). Habitat use, home range and foraging preferences of the coati Nasua nasua in a pluvial tropical Atlantic forest area. Journal of Zoology, 269, 77-87.

Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1997). Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Emmons, L., & Helgen, K. (2008). Nasua nasua. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2. <>, Downloaded on 04 July 2010.

Gompper, M. E., & Decker, D. M. (1998). Nasua nasua. Mammalian Species, 580, 1-9.

Hirsch, B. T. (2009). Seasonal variation in the diet of Ring-tailed Coatis (Nasua nasua) in Iguazu, Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy, 90, 136-143.

Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2005). Anthropogenic determinants of primate and carnivore local extinctions in a fragmented forest landscape of southern Amazonia. Biological Conservation, 124, 383-396.

Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2007). Disturbance-mediated mammal persistence and abundance-area relationships in Amazonian forest fragments. Conservation Biology, 21, 1626–1640.

Learn more about Brazilian carnivore species