February 2005: The Kinkajou

Everything is going well — the animals are fine, the kinkajou potos flavus is getting bigger and bigger and doesn’t´t sleep (or let us sleep) the whole night . . . I’m thinking of releasing her soon.

Unfortunately one of the pygmy marmosets was caught by a bird when we left them outside, so now we have put the surviving one in a big cage and have to wait until he is a little larger to be able to release him completely.


Kinkajou, also known as honey bear.The Kinkajou still sleeps in daytime in our house, but after 6 pm she gets up, eats a few fruits, bites all our toes and hands, or whatever she can reach, and then goes out—mostly around and on top of the house where we´ve put several long sticks so she can reach the nearby trees.

She comes back once around 1-2 o´clock in the morning for some water or milk, and then disappears until around 5 a.m. , when she wants to get under the blankets for a little warming up and to drink or eat something. When we get up, she hides somewhere inside the house and sleeps.

Yesterday some people of the village came to offer me a sloth. I told them we don´t buy any wild animals, but I wanted to see what they had brought. When they opened the sack I saw a sloth identical to Angelica, a three-toed sloth we raised and released more than a year ago. The people shouted that I should take care, that she would bite and scratch, but when I put my arms inside to take her out she didn’t harm me at all.

By doing this, I convinced myself and the people, that this was´our´Angelica. Anyway,I had to give the people a few soles for supper (which would have been the sloth if I didn´t take her). Now I´m looking for some color I can paint Angelica with so everybody can identify her and we will not have to buy her back every now and then. I´m going to ask a vet if they have any ideas. I thought I could dye her hair with something from the hairdresser, but it’s all either toxic or complicated to use.

Marmoset.The marmoset is eating a Guava, the scientific name is Inga — but I don´t know which subspecies. (In the back of the picture one also can see a little banana.)

One marmoset was released on Friday. Several wild marmosets coming near the cage where we had put the little (well, not so little anymore) one. She was always going near the wire and seemed to want to go with them. So on Friday midday, when the wild marmosets had come again, we opened the cage door.

The funny thing was that two wild marmosets went inside and the little one jumped away at first, but then she let herself be checked for the sex (by taking apart her legs—Chavo does the same every time a new animal arrives at our place) and as it seemed to please them they started grooming her. But when I went in, they became afraid and escaped. We left the door open and a few moments later the little one went out and after them.

She´s not yet adult but is able to find her food and, the most important thing, she found a family.

Anteaters are the only family in the infraorder Vermilingua of the order Edentata. The word “Edentata” means “without teeth,” and anteaters are the only truly toothless Edentates. Animals such as the aardvark (cape anteater), pangolin (scaly anteater), numbat (banded anteater), and echidna (spiny anteater), are commonly thought of as relatives of “real” anteaters, but they are not strictly so.

Anteaters are characterized by a lack of teeth in their long snouts, an extraordinarily long tongue, paws with very sharp, long claws, and small round brains. They are insectivores, but sometimes eat soft fruit. Their sense of smell is used to find prey—mainly ants and termites—and then the mighty claws are brought into action to demolish the nest, allowing the sticky, extrusible tongue, coated in saliva from the animals’ large glands, to get at the ants.

Travel is usually undertaken unaccompanied, save for mothers with their single young. The cub rides about on its mother’s back (or tail in the case of the pygmy anteater) for its first few months to a year. Interestingly, the position that the young anteater takes on the mother’s back, causes the line on the juvenile to coordinate with the line on the mother, making the youngster virtually invisible. The silky anteater does not usually have any dark mark, but the fur, which is quite beautiful, resembles the silky look and texture of fake fur, and changes color with the light angle.

Anteaters live in tropical and temperate climates, from Argentina northwards into Mexico. Edentates are not good at maintaining their body temperature. In the limbs and tails there are fusions of the veins and arteries, by means of which heat is transferred from the arteries, carrying warm blood to the limbs, to the veins.

Lesser Anteaters — Tamandua’s — live in trees, using their tails to hang on. When on the ground, they walk clumsily, in a fashion much like the giant anteater. The name “Tamandua: is from the Tupi language.

Anteaters are hunted for the tendons in their tails, and they are also used by natives to rid houses of ants!

1 Comment on February 2005: The Kinkajou

  1. I like what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and reporting!

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