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February 29, 2024

Kinkajous Come Alive at Bedtime

Kinkajou in tree at night

Like The Nightman, a kooky character made famous in the long-running television hit series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the kinkajou prefers to get its work done under the cover of darkness.

These tropical rainforest mammals are members of the Procyonidae family and are related to raccoons, coatis and olignos. But while raccoons and coatis are regularly spotted at our luxury vacation rental homes near Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal, the kinkajou is much tougher to get your eyes on due to their strict nocturnal habits. Typically, they tend to be very active from about 7 p.m. until dawn. Once the sun begins to rise, kinkajous retreat from the light to grab some rest.

Kinkajous are also arboreal creatures, meaning they live in trees. They traverse the thick Costa Rica jungle canopy and rarely set foot on the ground. They use their powerful, prehensile tails to swing from branch to branch, like an Olympian on the uneven bars. And will also fan out their tails to use as a soft blanket when they sleep. A kinkajou can also rotate its ankles 180 degrees. This allows for optimal agility when scaling or descending trees in search of feeding opportunities.

What Does a Kinkajou Look Like?

Ranging anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds on average, the kinkajou features a round head, bulging eyes, pointy nose, little limbs and short hair. They can be described as being as cute as a Gizmo with paws that resemble a baby black bear, both oversized and intimidating, and sharp teeth that would make Dracula jealous.

The kinkajou’s omnivorous diet consists mostly of ripe fruit, figs, leaves and flowers. They have, however, earned the nickname “Honey Bears” due to a propensity to raid bees’ nests in search of some sweet, sticky honey. This well-rounded diet allows kinkajous to live up to four decades in the wild.

So where’s the best place in Costa Rica to spot kinkajous in the wild?

Kinkajou in a tree at night

That would be the Osa Peninsula, located two hours south of Dominical. It’s home to some of the most dense jungle and breathtaking scenery in all of Central America. It’ll likely take a night hike — with an experienced guide, of course — to get the job done, but it is possible to track down this rare, fascinating creature in its natural surroundings.

And that’s part of the beauty of Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone. Where wildlife is abundant, beaches are immaculate and exciting adventures can be discovered around every nook and cranny. When you’re ready to experience the best of Costa Rica, contact the YouGetHere Vacation Rentals team at [email protected]. We will help set you up with a dreamy vacation villa.

If you’re really lucky you’ll get to spot a kinkajou as it moves from canopy to canopy. But you better stay up late because this show only happens under the darkness of night.

Category: Blog, CR Wildlife
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