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Kinkajou (Potos flavus) Fact Sheet: Summary

Kinkajou (Potos flavus) Fact Sheet

a Kinkajou

Kinkajou (Potos flavus)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Suborder: Caniformia

Family: Procyonidae

Genus: Potos

Species: Potos flavus* - kinkajou

*DNA suggests possible species or subspecies structuring; not yet formally recognized.

Body Weight
1.4-4.6 kg (3.1-10.1 lb)

Body Length
Male: 390-542 mm (1.3-1.8 ft)
Female: 364-547 mm (1.2-1.8 ft)

Tail Length
Male: 420-570 mm (1.4-1.9 ft)
405-570 mm (1.3-1.9 ft)

Pelage: Short, shoft, wooly hair covers the body. Back golden brown; belly creamy yellow or orangish.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Range: Neotropical; southern Mexico to Bolivia.

Habitat: Inhabits closed canopy forests. Prefer undisturbed sites in mature stages of development.

IUCN Status: Least Concern (2015 assessment). Widely distributed and adaptable to a degree of human land-use change; no evidence of significant population declines.

CITES Appendix: Apprendix III for Honduras

Other Designations: Mexican Red List species; given special protection.

Population in Wild: No published estimates of population size; numbers are likely decreasing.

Locomotion: Jump and climb through the forest canopy. Highly adept and agile, the tail is often used to secure and balance the body when crossing gaps between supports.

Activity Cycle: Nocturnal; kinkajou sleep during the day and search for food at night. Nightly forays typically last for 8-11 hours and end prior to dawn.

Social Groups: Most often solitary, kinkajou are known to associate in small groups. Typical groups are composed of 1 female, her offspring, and 1-2 adult males.

Diet: Frugivores; fruit makes up 90% of the kinkajous' diet. Flowers, leaves, honey, nectar, and insects are also eaten.

Jaguar, puma, ocelot, Harpy and Isidor's eagles, and humans.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity: 1.5-2.2 yrs

Gestation: 98-120 days

Litter Size: 1 most typically; rarely 2

Interbirth Interval: c. 1 yr

Birth Weight: 150-200 g (0.33-0.44 lb)

Age at Weaning: c. 4 months

Longevity: In managed care, oldest individuals > 30 years

Feature Facts

  • Sometimes nicknamed "honey bear" or "nightwalker"
  • More closely related to raccoons than primates
  • Native to Central and South America
  • Prehensile tail; allows for movement through forest canopy and aids balance
  • Curious
  • Forage for fruits at night; help to disperse seeds and pollinate flowers
  • Most often solitary. A female and her young are sometimes joined by one or more males. These small groupings often den together and may be seen feeding in close proximity to one another.
  • First housed at the San Diego Zoo in 1922

About This Fact Sheet

© 2015-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Updated January 2015. Taxonomy updated Apr 2019.

How to cite: Kinkajou (Potos flavus) Fact Sheet. c2015-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY MMM DD]. kinkajou. 
(note: replace YYYY MMM DD with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to


Many thanks to Dr. Roland Kays for providing content review of this fact sheet.

Dr. Kays is a zoologist with broad research interests. He is a recognized expert in his field and known for applying new technologies to study free-ranging animals. His work has provided valuable information on hard-to-study species, including the kinkajou. At the time of this writing, Dr. Kays serves as Director of the Biodiversity Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and is a Research Associate Professor at North Carolina State University.

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