Mexico’s Nocturnal Coati

Coatis are extremely common in Mexico and while shy, they can be aggressive as with any wild animal. These guys are similar to raccoons in a way in that they have curious little hands that are always into something. They are notorious for stealing unattended pet food that has been left outside, as well as tipping garbage bins in the night.

The coati is a member of the raccoon family and is easily found in other Latin American regions including Guatemala, Costa Rica and Colombia. While native to South America, they are also found in central and south-western North America.

In Mexico, you will hear them referred to by several different names depending on where you live. Throughout the country, coatis are also referred to as coatimundi, tejón, cholugo or moncún.

All coatis share a slender head with an elongated, flexible, slightly upward-turned nose, small ears, dark feet, and a long, non-prehensile tail used for balance and signaling.

When seen, you will notice they are traveling alone or in a large group. The loners are the males, who always travel solo. The large groups are always female, and in the fall, will have their babies scurrying along side in the group.

While mostly harmless, it is best to leave them be when you do spot them. Like most wild animals, they are out scavenging for food. Coatis are omnivores. Their diet consists mainly of ground litter invertebrates, such as tarantula and fruit. They also eat small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, rodents, small birds, birds’ eggs and crocodile eggs.