Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Potos flavus


Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae

Image of Potos flavus
Potos flavus (Kinkajou), Panama
Click to enlarge. (146 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Its big, bright, forward-facing eyes make the Kinkajou look more like a primate than a carnivore, but in fact its closest relatives are not monkeys and humans, but raccoons, ringtails, and coatis. Kinkajous are strictly nocturnal. Even tamed captives usually sleep all day and do their exploring at night. They stay in the mid-canopy of the tropical forest, about 10-20 m. above the ground, moving slowly and carefully as they feed on fruit, flowers, leaves, seeds, nectar, and some insects. They can hang upside down by the tail to feed and can swivel their hind feet, like squirrels, to descend head-first, but they hardly ever come down to the ground. They are basically solitary, but sometimes small groups feed together, communicating with a variety of twitters, chirps, barks, and hisses. They also communicate by scent-marking. Eagles take an occasional Kinkajou, and humans hunt them for their dense, soft, woolly fur and for meat.

Range: Nose to tail, 226 cm (1 male); 199, 214, 216 & 224 cm (4 pregnant females) Tail: 390-570 mm

Range: 2-4.6 kg


Schreber, J.C.D., 1774. Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen, 1(9):pl. 42[1774]; text, p. 187[189](index)[1774].


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Potos flavus