By Marla LiseScientific Name: Potos flavus
Kinkajous are also known as honey bears – sharing their name with the sun bear. They are often mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, and have the same bare hands and feet and prehensile tails that monkeys do – but these little honey-colored, honey-loving critters are actually related to red pandas and raccoons.
Kinkajous are found in most rainforest areas of South America. They are nocturnal and arboreal, meaning that they come out at night and spend most of their waking hours up in trees.
They are omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and plant material. They feed on fruit, flowers, leaves and sometimes eggs and small mammals as well. Kinkajous have a special characteristic that helps them to get termites from termite mounds, honey from hives and nectar from flowers. Can you guess what this is?
It’s their long tongue! A kinkajou’s tongue can grow up to 5 inches long.
These small creatures are difficult to see in the wild because they live in the forest canopy. They only grow to about 60cm, with their tail being almost the same length as their body. They are usually heard screeching and barking high up in the treetops.
Kinkajous are still listed as ‘least concern’ under the IUCN threatened animals list, however, their numbers are decreasing. They face threats such as habitat destruction through deforestation and human disturbance. They are also highly sought after as pets and for their fur and meat.
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