Sunday, February 22, 2009

Coatis

These coatis were begging for food from another car on the road that rings Lake Arenal in the forest on the way to Arenal Volcano, in the north central part of Costa Rica. Coatis are relatives of raccoons and olingos, and you can see that they share the creativity of raccoons in seeking easier sources of food than hunting in the wild.

Coati is the correct name given to the species by the indigenous peoples. Some people call them coatimundi, but that is not correct. Coatimundi is the native term to refer to a single coati, rather than a group of coatis. A coati traveling alone is usually a male, as females travel in groups.

15 comments:

JM said...

These are really cute! Great capture!
I don't remember seeing coatis in Costa Rica, but in Tikal (Guatemala) they were by the douzens around us :-)

Although portuguese language has latin origins, there are many similar words with english; the word for penultimate is penultimo :-)

Hope you enjoy your stay in Houston. I've been stuck there for 3 days on my way to New York from Belize City, as all airports on the East coast were closed due to bad weather...

Hilda said...

Fascinating animal! I've never seen or even heard of coatis before so thank you for the introduction. They look cute using their tails to balance like that. I sure hope their nails don't scratch the cars though.
--
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Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

JM,
Thank you for your interesting (as always) comments. I had business in Houston on Friday, but yesterday spent the day at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. They had a nice collection of pre-Columbian items, including pottery that depicted what they said were coatimundi!

They had some pre-Columbian jade from Costa Rica. The largest collection of pre-Columbian pottery from Costa Rica that I have found in the USA is in the art museum in Denver.

Sorry to hear that you were stuck in Houston for 3 days en route through New York. Bad weather of that magnitude is very unusual. Hopefully you made it out of the airport and saw something.

Tikal is high on our list of places to go. We have been to Chichenitza, Ekbelem, Uxmal, Tulum and some Mayan sites in Belize, but have not made it to Tikal yet.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

JM,
Here is one additional thought provoked by your story of being stuck in Houston while trying to connect through New York when flying from Central America to Europe.

The tourism authorities in Costa Rica have made a push to try to get the airlines to schedule more direct flights from Europe to Costa Rica. With the collapse of the economy in the USA, Costa Rica is looking for more diversity in the source of its visitors, and increasing tourism from Europe is considered a high priority.

The airport in Liberia, which is only one hour from Tamarindo, was opened up to international flights only within the past 10 years, and that is what has sparked the tourism and real estate boom in the Northwest part of the country. In thehigh season, there are about 50 direct flights per week from the USA, but only one from Europe.

Hopefully, that will change. Costa Rica is building a new terminal at the airport to accommodate more flights and visitors.

Sharon said...

These little guys look like they are using their long thick tails as a brace. They reminded of meerkats at first.

Jarart said...

They reiminded me of ferrets, only bigger. I would think it wouldn't be good for them to be fed this way.

Kathrine said...

That's an amazing photo, I don't think I've ever seen coatis before! Thanks for your comment as well, there are not a lot of Americans that have been over here. :) Hope you had a nice stay. I decided to keep my blog in Norwegian as I'll mostly comment on Norwegian news/politics/etc, sorry about that!

glenda said...

These guys are darling. Reminds me of years ago in Yellowstone Park with the bears jumping up on our car.

Jilly said...

How amazing. I've never heard of these animals. You learn something every day. They have very long faces. Extraordinary and rather beautiful. They obviously use their tails as a sort of support. Great shot.

Jacob said...

That's just too cute. I don't think I've seen a photo of a coati before...we've got lots of their cousins, though.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I agree that it is better for humans not to train wild animals to learn to be fed by humans, as their ability to find food in the wild may be diminished.

But, I have to confess that I enjoy the close proximity to wild animals who do not fear approaching humans.

Kuanyin Moi said...

They are such cute little beggars!

Babooshka said...

That an incrdibly cute image for the virtual viewer but is so cute when you are the driver I wonder. I have also learnt now the correct name for these creatures.

JM said...

Thank you so much for the additional information regarding the flights to Costa Rica. It's good to know as a 2nd visit to this country is allways on my mind.

When you decide to visit Tikal please don't forget to book a resort INSIDE the park. There is something you simply can not miss and that is going to temple #4 at night, climb it through the jungle that is covering it (it's the only temple like this), reaching the top when it is still dark and watch the sunrise, being above the jungle canopy! This is breathtaking and you can not do it unless you allready are inside the park as it 'closes' at night.

I've answered your comment on my post :-)

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

JM,
Thank you for your advice regarding staying within the park at Tikal. I agree that there are special places where it is worthwhile to stay close to the attraction. Staying within the park at Iguazu and Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina are a must. We did not stay up at the Santuary Lodge at the top of Machu Picchu, but were able to take the first bus up in the morning to return to the top before sunrise ayhway.

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