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Other name(s): Honey Bear, Nightwalker, Lion Monkey

Scientific name: Potos flavus

The basics:
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

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