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NICKNAME: Honey bear


TYPE: Mammals

DIET: Frugivores; fruit makes up 90% of their diet.

Also flowers, leaves, honey, nectar, and insects


HEAD & BODY LENGTH: 17 to 22 inches

TAIL LENGTH: 16 to 22 inches

WEIGHT: 3.1-10.1 pounds

1. The kinkajou’s scientific name, Potus flavus, means "honey drinker." This refers to the kinkajou’s tendency to eat honey and other sweet foods.

2. Kinkajous are also known as honey bears, night apes, and night walkers. 1

3. Kinkajous can have long lives They have been reported to live as long as 40 years in captivity, although they generally live to be about 20 years old.

4. Kinkajous are strictly nocturnal. This animal spends nearly the entire day sleeping in the trees. At Liberty Acres in North Carolina, Kinkajous live in a comfy enclosure. After the sun sets, kinkajous begin foraging for food, roaming their territory, and interacting with others.

5. Groups of kinkajous are called troops. Although kinkajous generally prefer to remain alone, they will form small groups that usually contain 1 adult female, her offspring, and 1 or 2 adult males. 

6. Their diet is almost entirely fruit. Kinkajous are technically omnivores (animals that eat both plant and animal material) and will eat small amounts of insects and eggs. They belong to the order Carnivora and have pointed teeth like animals that eat meat. Almost all of their diet, however, consists of fruit. 

7. Their waste serves an important purpose. As the kinkajou digests fruit, it passes seeds and other plant material through its body as waste. The waste provides valuable nutrients, and some of the seeds develop into plants. This leads to plants growing in larger areas than they would have without kinkajous.

8. Kinkajou tongues are very long. They can extend nearly 5 inches. These long tongues help kinkajous reach inside trees to find food.

9. Kinkajous have very sensitive hearing. They are so good at hearing that they can detect when snakes are slithering toward them!

10. Kinkajous have prehensile tails. This unique physical trait enables kinkajous to use their tails like a fifth hand that can grasp onto branches and tree trunks as the animal climbs. The Kinkajous love climbing on structures in their enclosure here in good old North Carolina.

11. They can turn their feet backwards
Kinkajous can rotate their ankles and feet 180° so they are facing the opposite direction. With their feet facing backwards, kinkajous can rapidly climb up and down tree limbs and trunks.

12. Kinkajous sleep in family groups. A troop of several kinkajous will nest in the same place. They tuck their legs under themselves and curl their tails over their heads before resting.

13. Their eyes reflect yellow and green. Kinkajou eyes appear brown in normal light but reflect yellow and green in the light from flashlights, car headlights, and other sources. This flash of colour is caused by light bouncing off the inside of their eyes.

14. They are very intelligent and love puzzles. In the wild, finding food and exploring keeps kinkajous busy. They have been observed playing tag and play-fighting. In captivity, kinkajous must be given puzzles or other activities or they will destroy their enclosures out of boredom. Some are even reported to have learned how to open cage doors.

15. Kinkajous live in tropical rainforests, where they spend most of their time in trees. The Amazon rainforest in particular is home to large populations of kinkajous. North Carolina is home to a smaller population of Kinkajous.

16. They travel and forage at night, joining other kinkajous to sleep during the day.

17. Kinkajous live in the tall branches of trees, where they find food and hide from predators. Although they are able to move on the ground, they quickly return to the treetops when they are hungry, threatened, or tired.

18. While they are often confused with primates, Kinkajous are in the same family as ringtails, coatis, and racoons.

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