Other name(s): Honey Bear, Nightwalker, Lion Monkey
Scientific name: Potos flavus
Kinkajous are as entertaining and resourceful as their Raccoon and Coati cousins, and their irresistibly-cute babies have long been popular with exotic pet fans. Unfortunately, they share their larger cousin’s penchant for getting into trouble, and need more space than most folks can provide. Although pets may live past age 30, and bond closely with their owners, Kinkajous are best kept only by well-experienced adults.
The Kinkajou’s range extends from southern Mexico east and south to Suriname and southern Brazil. Highly arboreal, they inhabit dry and wet forests, secondary growth woodlands, and tree-studded grasslands.
Appearance / health:
Kinkajous are the size of elongated house cats, measuring 80-135 cm (2.5-4.4 ft) in length. The dense fur is golden to dark brown in color, the tail is prehensile, and the eyes are large, and the head is noticeably rounded.
The average lifespan is 20-25 years, with some captives reaching age 30-38. Kinkajous should receive most standard dog/cat vaccinations, and nail and tooth care must be attended to by an experienced veterinarian.
Behavior / temperament:
Kinkajous often bond with a single owner, or a family, and rarely re-home well. They are nocturnal, and will bite if surprised while asleep. Their extreme playfulness can become rough, so bites and scratches are a concern. Upon maturity they may become dangerously-aggressive if not spayed or neutered. Kinkajous cannot be housebroken or trained not to damage furniture.
A custom-made enclosure of at least 5 x 8 x 6 feet (L x W x H), but preferably larger, is required to house an adult Kinkajou. Stout tree trunks, branches, and platforms must be provided as climbing surfaces. A small dog-house style retreat, preferably above-ground, and numerous items to play with and investigate, should be available. Kinkajous can tolerate temperatures to 60 F, but do best at 75-85 F, and benefit from outdoor housing.
Kinkajous are omnivores. Various tropical fruits should make up approximately ½ of the diet, with lesser amounts of monkey chow/biscuits, vegetables, and a protein source, such as cooked chicken, eggs or dog food, provided on a daily basis.
Kinkajou breeding is a dangerous affair for both Kinkajou and Kinkajou owner, and is best left to professionals; pets should be neutered or spayed. Sexual maturity is reached by age 1-2 years. Females give birth to 1 annual litter of 1-2 kits after a gestation period of 8 weeks. The youngsters are weaned at age 8 weeks.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
fascinating animals, exotic animal ownership, professionals, local zoo
unprovoked biting, health problems, high maintenance animal, scratches bites, dietary issues, vet bills
wild animal, scent mark, diabetic kink, prehensile tail
Kinkajous- not the cuddly, slow-moving creatures that breeders describe!
I have wanted a kinkajou for years, so I have researched and researched the species like any responsible, potential owner should do when considering a new pet....especially an exotic. Repeatedly, they are described as cuddly and slow-moving by the breeders that sell them. They always talk about their quiet nature.
Finally the big day came, I was getting my very own little, cuddly honey bear. He was so tiny and cute and quiet. We took him home and fixed his formula and fed him and cuddled him. What a beautiful, sweet baby! A few weeks went by and he started to grow more secure in his new environment. He went from curious about his new digs to climbing the walls in a month! And with climbing the walls comes...you guessed it...knocking everything off the shelf in one fell swoop (it is a talent).
He is seven-months old now and has reached the "flying monkey" stage. It is pretty amazing to behold. To top that off, kinkajous have this nifty little quirk, when you tell them "NO" they hear "please do that again and again". The one little word creates this fierce determination in them that they cannot resist!
Now some people say that they are cuddly when they first wake up...I have read for the first 20 minutes or so. I agree, Wicket is very cuddly for that first 20....seconds or so. Then he goes streaking up my arm to spring-board off my head, makes a loop around the sectional in my living room and then takes a flying leap back onto my shoulder....it's playtime! These crazy antics of playing and wrestling go on for a hour or two until he wants to eat and maybe a quick nap. If I am lucky, he may have slowed down enough for a few scratches or he may decide to groom me. Nothing says "I love you" like a kinkajou tongue sneaking into your ear (those of you that have seen a kinkajou tongue know what I am talking about).
I spend a great deal of time shopping for fruit and vegetables that he likes and preparing his meals; therefore, his dietary requirements can be costly. Besides the fresh fruit and vegetables he eats boiled eggs, baked chicken, grain-free dog and cat food, monkey biscuits, dry primate food and for treats he eats dates, fig newtons and marshmallows....once again...costly. He doesn't want the same foods for more than a day or two and then I have to rotate them or the food is wasted. I am constantly looking for enrichment activities for him and new toys, because he gets bored with the same things.
Kinkajous have long nails that grow like crazy and if left unclipped they will make you bleed. I have to clip them weekly to keep them somewhat in check. Like most exotics, kinkajous hate restraint! It is a weekly fight to keep him still enough to clip his nails. I don't think he really minds having his nails clipped but it seems it is not in his genetic makeup to be that still while being conscious. That brings me to another point, kinkajous are very much nocturnal, that part is very true. He spends the day completely unconscious and when I get home from work in the evenings he is waking up. He needs no supervision or entertainment during the daylight hours. I have read that they are cranky when awoken during the day, but when I am home and want to try to cuddle him he has never seemed to mind me getting him out. He comes out and plays awhile (that is right after the 20 seconds of cuddling, but I keep trying) then when he has had enough he will cuddle up under a pillow or blanket and go back to sleep. On occasion I will get him up to go shopping or run errands, because he loves to go bye-bye. He wakes right up and is ready to go. On the rare occasion that he goes back into his pouch, I know to leave him home and let him sleep.
It is difficult to find a vet that has kinkajou experience. I finally settled with a great vet that has worked with raccoons and a few coatis, and is very willing to research and contact zoo vets when considering best options for Wicket...and is very willing to listen to me and my concerns about his health. He will be neutered next month, which is also important to prevent sexual aggression when he matures. These medical expenses are a necessity when owning pets and exotic vetting cost are usually much higher.
All in all, he is not exactly what I was expecting, but that being said I could not love him more. He is wild and almost uncontrollable at moments, he can cause panic when I hear a loud crash from the other room, he causes nearly the same amount of destruction that my daughter caused when she was a toddler (except he can actually climb the walls) and he is not the cuddle buddy that I had wanted, but he is an amazing, entertaining, adorable little imp. I do not have the slightest regret for bringing him into my family and if he turns into a aggressive little monster in the future months I will still love him.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering a kinkajou or any exotic (or any type of pet) is can you guarantee that you will be able to properly care for them the entirety of their natural life? Exotics do not re-home well! They will most likely not bond with another human after the juvenile period. If you are not positive that you will be able to handle a kinkajou for 20 plus years, you do not need one. If you cannot properly feed and house a kinkajou, they are not the pet for you. If you do not have experience in handling and housing exotic animals, this is probably not the right choice for you.
If you have the experience, the resources and can commit to a high-strung, intelligent, beautiful creature then this may be the species for you. They can bring a great sense of joy and entertainment to your life (with a heaping side of challenge)!.
From Wicketsmom Jan 30 2015 8:38PM
Cute, Not Easy
There's no doubt that a kinkajou is an extremely adorable animal, but there are a many factors to consider before acquiring one as a pet, far beyond cute looks and the simple excitement of owning an exotic animal.
I'll start with the positives: kinkajou are extremely cute, they can be readily trained using operant conditioning techniques, and with some caveats, they can be handled.
However, this is an extremely labor intensive animal. Kinkajou require a large habitat with plenty of climbing space and hiding places. They do not easily take to "potty training" and in fact scent mark their territory with urine. They can be very sweet as young animals, but almost always develop territorial behaviors and become less "friendly" as they get older. They are capable of biting through a thick leather glove, and some kinkajou have been known to bite with no obvious warning, to the extent of the victim requiring immediate medical attention and sustaining noticeable, permanent scars and nerve damage.
Kinkajou are nocturnal animals and sleep most of the day. However, they become very active at night, running around and making a great deal of noise. If your kinkajou escapes its enclosure, you can expect your house to be a wreck by morning.
Their diet is readily available from most grocery stores, with the exception of primate chow which may be difficult to source. They do have important food requirements and sensitivities (i.e. no strawberries), and it may be difficult to convince one to eat a food that isn't a "favorite".
Overall, I would recommend strongly against a kinkajou as a pet. The novelty of owning an exotic animal does not, to me, balance out the danger of injury and the labor involved in caring for one. For the health of both animals and owners, these critters are best left to the professionals..
From ekccritters Nov 15 2015 10:21AM
Belongs in its natural environment
Quite an eye-catcher and conversation starter but not a pet for a non-professional. It is nocturnal and therefore not much of a companion for anyone with a normal sleeping pattern. Because of its nature it cannot run free in a house or yard so a cage is necessary which feels wrong. Quite friendly until it isn't. There were more than a few episodes of unprovoked biting and they have very sharp teeth. Cute, very cute and with its prehensile tail quite amazing to watch in a tree, but almost impossible to get down. Again, I would not recommend this to the average home. I had to give Tico to the Children's Zoo finally and he seems happy..
From alchemyst Jul 3 2013 11:34PM