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White-nosed coati

Heads up – it’s World Coati Day!

Happy World Coati Day! We’re celebrating this special occasion by giving you an inside look into our band of white-nosed coatis and what they’re up to these days.

A Recap

Sixteen-year-old Katie is among the oldest coatis at Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facilities. She and 12-year-old Lupita have been at our Zoo since 2016 and 2013, respectively.

You may remember that back in August 2021, we welcomed one male and two female coatis after we expanded the habitat for this species. They’re now a year and a half old! Romi and Tito are founders for the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s White-Nosed Coati Species Survival Plan, or SSP. The goal of an SSP is to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population for at-risk, threatened or endangered species in facilities accredited by the AZA.

White-nosed coatis are highly adaptable animals that can be found in rainforests, grasslands and deserts ranging from northern South America up to Arizona. Wild populations of this species are decreasing due to large-scale habitat loss and in some areas, hunting.

In the spring of this year, we began introductions between our two older females and three youngsters, but soon after, we welcomed two more members to our band! In July, now-seven-month-old coatis Sky and Rita made their way into Rainforest Revealed, bringing our coati grand total to seven.

What They’re Up To

“Our band of seven coatis is doing well,” said Rainforest Revealed Area Supervisor Sidnee Santana-Mellor. “They are always busy looking for bugs or wrestling with each other.”

The youngest members, Rita and Sky, have meshed great with the rest of our residents. According to Sidnee, during introductions, all of our younger coatis wasted no time in getting to know each other! Katie and Lupita enjoy having their own space, so the younger coatis learned early on which vocalizations meant “back up, please!”

You may remember that earlier this year, Agave received specialized care when she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. While this is not something that has a cure, we immediately created a treatment plan for her so that she can go about her life as normal. These days, she is on daily medication and closely monitored for any signs of heart issues. “Agave is managing her issues well,” said Sidnee. All seven of our coatis are crate and injection trained in order to make exams (or moving) as stress free as possible.

Katie is one of the oldest coatis in human care, and she has some age-related mobility issues. To help her get around as comfortably as possible, we have modified some of her favorite ramps in the habitat, adding bumpers to them so she can see and feel them better.

When you visit our coatis in Rainforest Revealed, you may see any combination of our seven individuals! “We change up who is where and what combination spends time together to give the older ladies some alone time,” said Sidnee. Who is in which habitat just depends on the day, but every night, all seven spend time as a unit.

Get to Know Me: Coati Edition

“Katie and Lupita take things slow,” said Sidnee. Lupita tends to move away from the younger coatis if they are being too rowdy, but always stays with Katie. On the other hand, Katie still believes she is in charge, said Sidnee. Even though her younger roommates are much faster than her, Katie doesn’t hesitate to let them know they’re too close and uses a “loud, squeaking noise” to tell them to back away.

Of the younger five coatis, Agave is the calmest and shyest. “She is more go with the flow and enjoys grooming the other coatis.”

Romi is the most mischievous of our band! “She is always in search of new things or places to explore… even if it means stealing all of the old dishes and enrichment you just picked up!” said Sidnee.

Tito is working on becoming independent. Naturally, male coatis are pushed out of the band and the females live together. Read more below about how we are working on Tito’s next steps! “As he has matured, Tito’s head has become very broad, which is a signature look for mature males of this species,” said Sidnee. It’s an easy way to tell him apart from the others!

Rita and Sky are both bundles of energy! Sidnee describes them as the goofiest of the band, noting that they both enjoy interacting with keepers and are excellent with training. “They are always busy exploring every part of their habitat and tend to stay close together.”

What’s Next?

Just this past week, Tito moved into the old howler monkey habitat across from the Flooded Forest in Rainforest Revealed. This move is part of our coati reproduction plan as adult males do not live with females in their natural range except during breeding season. We plan to give him around a month to settle into his new digs before returning to the females to potentially breed with Romi. White-nosed coatis have a gestation of around 77 days and typically give birth to anywhere from one to five kits.

We are hopeful that breeding will be successful – and more kits will join our band! We have had success breeding this important species in the past. The youngest age for reproduction is one and the median age is three, so if this breeding season doesn’t go according to plan, we’ll try again next time around! Once breeding season is over, Tito will be moved back into the old howler habitat, where he may even howdy with our howler monkey troop in the hopes they can all live together in Flooded Forest!

Keep an eye on our blog and social media channels for more news on our coati band!

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