coatis and tourists in Mexico

Tourist paradise – Coati opportunity!

July 29th, 2011

Idyllic Mexican beaches, the natural park of the Iguazu Falls . . . some of the most beautiful landscapes of Central and South America happen to be habitats of the coati, who has found in the tourist a new opportunity. Rather than fleeing the human invaders, coatis have become efficient at hoovering up their food scraps. They converge in numbers wherever pickings are rich, creating a forest of ringed tails, held high and upright as they scour the zone.

Tourists are enchanted with their fearless nature, and will even forgive blatant sandwich-snatching in return for a good photo opportunity.  Long coati snouts are good for investigating rubbish bins, and non-retractable claws are perfect for ripping open lunch bags, even as the owner is walking along.

So what is a coati? Some kind of giant rodent? The handsome stripy tail puts you in mind of a lemur. In fact, they are members of the racoon family.

More coati facts

  • The tails come in handy when the coati troop is in tall vegetation, visible when held erect.
  • Coati groups are made up of females and young males.  Mature males are solitary.
  • They nest and sleep in trees.
  • As versatile omnivores, their natural diet includes fruit, insects and worms. Larger males will capture rodents.
  • Found in Central and South America: Nasua nasua in the south of its range and Nasua narica in the north

The tourist-coati interplay means photographic evidence of their activities is abundant.  Some good selections here: