White-nosed coatis (Nasua narica), or “pizotes” in Spanish, are related to the racoon and found throughout the Americas. They are social animals who live in troops of three to 20 animals. These troops include females and their young only. Males will leave their troop at around two years of age when they reach adulthood and remain solitary unless mating.
These are polygynous animals, so during a short mating period from February through March, troops will permit a single male to live among them and mate with the sexually mature females. After mating has come to an end the adult male is chased from the troop because they often become aggressive toward juveniles and may even kill them.
White-nosed coatis are omnivores and have been known to travel as far as 2,000 miles in search of food. Their preferred meals consist of fruit, insects, carrion, and small reptiles or rodents. They are exceptional tree climbers, using their long tails to balance themselves. However, most of their foraging is done on the ground, where they poke their flexible snouts into crevices in search of prey.
They share a dependent relationship with balsa trees, seeking sustenance from balsa tree flowers, particularly when food is sparse. The coati’s faces become covered in pollen when they dip their long snouts in to drink the nectar. When the coatis move through the forest, they spread the pollen from one flower to the next. We photographed this White-nosed coati during a visit to Tikal in Guatemala.