142. Kinkajou

Kinkajou, also called as the honey bear, is a rain forest mammal. It resembles a monkey and a ferret in its appearance. It is native to Central and South America. It is nocturnal and can live up to 23 years in captivity.

The length of the body of a kinkajou is 40 to 60 c.m. Its weight is 4 to 7 pounds. It has a long tail 40 to 50 c.m in length. It has two layers of coat; a golden outer coat and a gray under coat. It has large eyes and small ears. It has short legs and 5 toes in each leg, with sharp claws.

Ninety percent of it diet consists of ripe fruits and ten percent is made up of leaves and flowers. It simply loves figs! It may also eat ants, eggs and small vertebrates. Its long slender tongue is useful to lick nectar from the flowers. It helps greatly in pollination and in seed dispersal. In captivity it eats honey. Hence the name honey bear. In wilderness it does not eat honey.

The manipulatory abilities of kinkajou are as good as those of the primates. The tail is used as a fifth hand while climbing. Kinkajous sleep in family units and groom one another. They are nocturnal and active from 7 P.M to midnight and for an hour before dawn. During the day time they sleep protected from the sunlight.

Visalakshi Ramani


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