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Biology and Conservation of Musteloids$
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David W. Macdonald, Chris Newman, and Lauren A. Harrington

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198759805.001.0001

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Kinkajou: the tree-top specialist

Kinkajou: the tree-top specialist

(p.493) Chapter 26 Kinkajou: the tree-top specialist
Biology and Conservation of Musteloids

Melody Brooks

Roland Kays

Oxford University Press

Kinkajous have evolved a suite of unique adaptations not seen in other Carnivores, helping them thrive in the canopies of neotropical forests. They have a prehensile tail and reversible hind feet to help them climb trees, and large eyes and scent glands to help them navigate complex tropical canopies at night. By sticking to the treetops at night kinkajous have very few potential predators, and this frees them from the need move in large groups for protection, as seen in most diurnal primates. Instead, kinkajous live in small social groups that forage for fruits and flowers mostly as singletons, but reunite at large feeding or sleeping trees. Females defend exclusive territories against each other while males form small coalitions to defend larger areas that overlap with multiple females. Fruit comprises 90-99% of their diet, making kinkajous one of the most frugivorous mammals on earth, and an important seed disperser.

Keywords:   Rainforest, Canopy, Frugivorous, seed dispersal, sociality, predation risk, Procyonidae, patrilineal

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