In South America kinkajous are commonly called "honeybears" or "nightwalkers." These nocturnal, arboreal animals are native to a region from southern Mexico to southern Brazil.
Kinkajous are agile animals that spend a great deal of time in the upper canopy of the tropical rainforest. They forage during the night, eating fruit, insects, small animals and nectar from plants. During the day, kinkajous generally sleep, often inside of hollowed out trees or laying on limbs of trees.
Kinkajous were, for a long time, classified as primates. But after more research and examination of their DNA, they were ultimately classified in the order "carnivora", making them relatives of raccoons and coatis, not monkeys. Even so, natives who live among these creatures still call them 'monkeys of the night.'
The kinkajous' long dexterous fingers and prehensile tails make them more like monkeys than some actual monkeys! Rarely going to the ground, kinkajous are arboreal and use their strong tail to grip branches as they move quickly through the trees. Their large eyes aid them in their night-time forays. They will even hang by their tails as they pluck fruits, a staple of their evening meals. Other foods for wild kinkajous include nectar and leaves.
Black Pine's resident kinkajous, Mishka (male, right) and Chu (female, above) are rescued pets. Though many internet resources indicate kinkajous make good pets, they are not at all domestic animals. Being nocturnal, they are only active at night and require a great deal of room to explore, plus a specialized diet. Kinkajous are also scent markers and can inflict nasty bite and scratch wounds.
Photos courtesy of Clay Myers.
InfoBox - Kinkajous
Status: Good, though habitats are being destroyed.
Diet in wild: Fruits, leaves and nectar.
Life span in wild: 23 years.
Weight: Up to 6.5 pounds.
Native habitat: Southern Mexico to southern Brazil in the Americas.