From Academic Kids

Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)

Scientific classification
Species:P. flavus
Binomial name
Potos flavus
(Schreber, 1774)

The Kinkajou (Potos flavus), also known as the Honey Bear, is a nocturnal rainforest mammal related to the raccoons. It is the only member of the genus Potos (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire & Cuvier, 1795).

An adult Kinkajou usually weighs only 5-6 pounds. Though classified as a carnivore and equipped with sharp teeth, they prefer to eat fruit and honey. Living in South American trees, they are not a particularly rare animal but they are not often seen by people.

Like raccoons (also members of the family Procyonidae), kinkajous have remarkable manipulatory abilities, in this respect rivalling primates.


Alford, L. E. Alford, Leigh Ellen. Kinkajou (Potos flavus) response to sugar concentrations in diet. 1995. Cornell University. Abstract: Kinkajous did not select monosaccharide vs. disaccharide. Kikaous did decrease the amount of food eaten as sugar level increased.

Baskin, J. A. 2003. New Procyonines from the Hemingfordian and Barstovian of the Gulf Coast and Nevada, Including the First Fossil Record of the Potosini. - BULLETIN AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 279: 125-146. Abstract: Four new procyonids (Mammalia: Carnivora) are described in this paper. They include Bassaricyonoides stewartae, new genus and species, from the late Hemingfordian of Nevada, Bassaricyonoides phyllismillerae, new species, ?Edaphocyon palmeri, new species, both from the early Hemingfordian of Florida, and Parapotos tedfordi, new genus and species, from the Barstovian of Texas. Bassaricyonoides and Parapotos are the first known fossils of potosin procyonids. They support the monophyly of the Tribe Potosini, which includes the extant Bassaricyon and Potos, and indicate that the Potosini had diverged from the Procyonini by the early Miocene in North America. By the late Miocene, the Procyoninae had replaced the phlaocyonin and cynarctin canids as the dominant North American, small hypocarnivorans.

Bisbal, F. J. 1986. Food habits of some neotrpoical carnivores in Venezuela (Mammalia, Carnivora). - Mammalia 50: 329-339.

Blount J D {a} and Taylor N J . The Relative Effectiveness of Manipulable Feeders and Olfactory Enrichment for Kinkajous Potos Flavus: a Preliminary Study of Newquay Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook. [print] 2000 , 37: 381-394. 2000. Abstract: The Kinkajou Potos flavus (Carnivora: Procyonidae) is a nocturnal, arboreal species that feeds opportunistically, mostly on fruits and insects. The implications for the management of these aspects of the ecology of P. flavus in captivity have received little attention in the literature. Captive Kinkajous often show stereotypic behaviour, indicating sub-optimal welfare and probably reflecting insufficient opportunity to display important aspects of natural behaviour. This study assessed the individual and additive effects of complex feeders and scented cloths as enrichment for a pair of Kinkajous at Newquay Zoo. Feeding enrichment, alone and in combination with scented cloths, elicited most positive active behaviours and space utilization, and least stereotypic and inactive behaviours. Food provision requiring species-typical exploration and manipulation may improve the welfare and educational value of Kinkajous.

Charles-Dominique, P., Atramentowicz, M., Charles-Dominique, M., Gerard, H., Hladik, A., Hladik, C. M. and Prevost, M. F. 1981. Les mammifŤres frugivores arboricoles nocturnes d’une forÍt guyanise: inter-relations plantes - animaux. - Revue d’Ecologie (Terre et Vie) 35: 341-435.

Hall, E. R. and Dalquest, W. W. 1963. The mammals of Veracruz. - University of Kansas Puplications, Museum of Natural History 14: 165-362. Abstract: some kinkajou notes, "on one or more occasions we thought that more than one kinkajou was in a tree, but we never did see more than one." also report 2 embryos.

Hernandez, H. A. 1992. Carnivores and their conservation prospects in protected areas of Mexico. - Acta Zoologica Mexicana Nueva Serie 1-23. Abstract: Mexico is the country with more mammal species in America, nevertheless an important number of this species are under great hunting pressure or suffer overexploitation and habitat destruction; species of the order Carnivora are being specially affected by this process. Using information about natural history for 33 carnivore species with distribution in Mexico life table for the majority of this species were elaborated. Owing to their low potential of demographic increase, black bear (Ursus americanus), sea otter (Enhydra lutris), river otter (Lutra longicaudis), kinkajou (Poto flavus) and jaguar (Panthera onca) are the most endangered carnivores. The suitability of the protected areas of Mexico to preserve mexican mammals is assessed considering their number, size and distribution all over the country. Only tree protected areas out of 80 have possibilities for conserving the jaguar and only one for the black bear. On the other hand only one of four endemic species have populations in a reserve. The future for the majority of mexican carnivores is uncertain; only with a coordinate effort towards conservation and a more decisive support to the existing protected areas it will be possible to improve the present situation.

Jacobs, G. H. and Deegan, J. F. I. 1992. Cone photopigments in nocturnal and diurnal procyonids. - Journal of Comparative Physiology A Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology 171: 351-358. Abstract: Procyonids are small, New World carnivores distributed among some 6 genera. Electroretinogram (ERG) flicker photometry was used to measure the spectra of the cone photopigments for members of two nocturnal species, the raccoon (Procyon lotor) and the kinkajou (Potos flavus), and a diurnal species, the coati (Nasua nasua). Each of the 3 has a class of cone photopigment with maximum sensitivity in the middle to long wavelengths. The spectral positioning of this cone is different for the three. Whereas the raccoon and kinkajou are monochromatic, the diurnal coati is a dichromat having an additional class of cone photopigment with peak sensitivity close to 433 nm.

Janson, C. H. and Emmons, L. 1990. Ecological structure of the nonflying mammal community at Cocha Cashu Biological Station, Manu National Park, Peru. - In: Gentry, A. H. (ed.), Four neotropical rainforests. Yale University Press, pp. 314-338.

Julien Laferriere, D. 1999. Foraging strategies and food partitioning in the neotropical frugivorous mammals Caluromys philander and Potos flavus. - Journal of Zoology London 247: 71-80. Abstract: The bare-tailed woolly opossum, Caluromys philander, and the kinkajou, Potos flavus, are two syntopic neotropical nocturnal, arboreal and frugivorous mammals. Because of close ecology but great difference in size (weight 300 vs 3000 g), they represent pertinent models to examine the influence of size on foraging strategy. These species were studied by radio-tracking and direct observation during 22 months in a tropical forest in French Guiana. Both mammals' foraging strategies with regard to flowers and fruits are characterized as follows: (1) numerous plant families and species are exploited; (2) most plant species are selected according to their abundance; (3) diet selectivity and diversity are similar in both mammals; (4) relative parts of flowers and fruits in the diet vary according to their year-long availability; (5) the choice of fruiting species is not related to the morphological type, size, or nutritious quality of fruits but instead depends on easy access to the edible part; (6) the length of foraging bouts is correlated with production for the most frequently exploited tree species; (7) feeding bouts are shorter in P. flavus than in C. philander; (8) P. flavus exploits large, highly productive canopy trees, while C. philander also visits canopy trees with low production and understorey trees. In conclusion, both mammals are opportunistic flower- and fruit-eaters, but the larger species (P. flavus) exploits larger, more scattered food patches, while the smaller one (C. philander) also exploits smaller, more numerous and more evenly distributed food patches.

Kays, R. 2003. Social polyandry and promiscuous mating in a primate-like carnivore: the kinkajou (Potos flavus). - In: Reichard, U. H. and Boesch, C. (eds.), Monogamy: mating strategies and partnerships in birds, humans and other mammals. Cambridge University Press, pp. 125-137.

Kays, R. W. 1999. Food preferences of kinkajous (Potos flavus): A frugivorous carnivore. - Journal of Mammalogy 80: 589-599. Abstract: The diet of the kinkajou (Potos flavus) is described from analyses of feces and observations of habituated individuals. Ripe fruit was the primary food comprising 90.6% of feeding bouts and present in 99% of feces. Leaves and flowers made up <10% of the diet. No animal prey was eaten. Seventy-eight species of fruit from 29 families were detected. Moraceae was the main plant family in the diet and Ficus was the most important plant genus. Kinkajous preferentially fed in large fruit patches. Selection indices were calculated for 37 fruit species. Compared with other large mammalian frugivores in central Panama the diet of kinkajous is most similar to the spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi).

Kays, R. W. 2001. Kinkajou. - In: Macdonald, D. W. (ed.), The encyclopedia of mammals. Oxford University Press, pp. 92-93.

Kays, R. W. and Gittleman, J. G. 2001. The social organization of the kinkajou Potos flavus (Procyonidae). - Journal of Zoology 253: 491-504. Abstract: The social organization of the kinkajou, Potos flavus, is described from 380 hr of observations on habituated, free-ranging animals. Individuals were most often alone while feeding at night, yet they regularly interacted in stable social groups. Four social groups were observed each consisting of a single adult female, two adult males, one subadult and one juvenile. At least one breeding female was solitary and did not reside within a group. Social groups were consolidated primarily at denning sites and large fruiting trees via group feeding, allogrooming and scent marking. However, kinkajous were most often observed solitarily, as social feeding only occurred in 19.6 of total feeding bouts (mainly among males) and individuals rarely travelled together. Although the composition of social groups was polyandrous, males also copulated with non-group females which suggests a promiscuous mating system. Female-biased dispersal and patterns of male association appear patrilineal and based on resource defence. The evolution of social organization in the kinkajou is discussed in relation to predation risk, resource availability, and convergence with primates of similar fission-fusion socioecology.

Kays, R. W., Gittleman, J. G. and Wayne, R. K. 2000. Microsatellite analysis of kinkajou social organization. - Molecular Ecology 9: 743-751. Abstract: Kinkajou social groups generally consist of one adult female, two males, one subadult and one juvenile. Based on analysis of variation in 11 microsatellite loci, we assess the degree of kinship within and between 4 social groups totaling 25 kinkajous. We use exclusion and likelihood analyses to assign parents for seven of the eight offspring sampled, five with 95% certainty, and two with 80% certainty. Five of six identified sires of group offspring came from the same social group as the mother and pup. Adult males and females within a group were unrelated and subadults and juveniles were offspring of the group adults, suggesting a family structure. All five identified paternities within a social group were by the dominant male of the group. However, this copulation asymmetry does not necessary reflect cooperation due to kinship ties between the two adult males within a group as one of two adult male pairs sampled was unrelated. Neighboring male kinkajous were more closely related to each other than neighboring female kinkajous, suggesting that females disperse more often or farther than males.

Kays, R. W. and Gittleman, J. L. 1995. Home range size and social behavior of kinkajous (Potos flavus) in the Republic of Panama. - Biotropica 27: 530-534. Abstract: This note reports behavioral interactions and home range measurements of individuals from a free-ranging population of kinkajous. We suggest that the social organization of this species is more complex than previously reported, involving greater inter-individual interactions; this perhaps is more consistent with the kinkajou's morphological and ecological traits which, as mentioned, resemble the primates rather than their ancestral carnivore heritage.

Kortlucke, S. M. 1973. Morphological variation in the kinkajou, Potos flavus (Mammalia: Procyonidae), in Middle America. - Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 17: 1-36.

Lindholm, J. S. and Downing, D. T. 1980. Occurrence of squalene in skin surface lipids of the otter, the beaver and the kinkajou. - Lipids 15: 1062-3. Abstract: In a previous survey of the skin surface lipids of 46 mammalian species, it was found that only 3, the otter, the beaver and the kinkajou, contained components with chromatographic mobility similar to squalene, and in each case, this material was the predominant constituent. The materials in question have now been isolated from each of these species and identified as squalene by thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography and infrared spectroscopy. The occurrence of squalene in the surface lipids of these particular species cannot be examined on the basis of either their evolutionary relationship or ecological niche.

Malcolm, J. R. 1991. Comparative abundances of neotropical small mammals by trap height. - Journal of Mammalogy 72: 188-192.

Martinez, M. E., Martinez, M. M. and Sosa, E. J. 1998. First record of the kinkajou, Potos flavus (Carnivora: Procyonidae), from Isla Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico. - Southwestern Naturalist. March 43: 101-102.

Menino, H. 2003. The Kinkajou. - National Geographic Magazine October: 42-56.

Moreno, V. A. 1996. First record for the kinkajou, Potos flavus (Carnivora: Procyonidae) in Tamaulipas, Mexico. - Southwestern Naturalist 41: 457-458.

Muller, E. and Kulzer, E. 1978. Body temperature and oxygen uptake in the kinkajou (Potos flavus, Schreber), a nocturnal tropical carnivore. - Arch Int Physiol Biochim 86: 153-63. Abstract: Two kinkajous (Potos flavus, Procyonidae) showed marked nycthemeral variations in their rectal temperature. The mean Tr at night was 38.1 +/- 0.4 degrees C SD and 36.0 +/- 0.6 degrees C SD while resting during the day. Body temperature and O2-consumption were measured at ambient temperatures from 5-35 degrees C. With one exception at 35 degrees C, hypo- or hyperthermia was never observed. At air temperatures above 30 degrees C the bears reacted with behavioural responses. O2-consumption was minimal at Ta's from 23-30 degrees C. The mean basal metabolic rate was 0.316 ml O2 g-1 h-1 which is only 65% of the expected value according to the Kleiber formula. Below 23 degrees C heat production followed the equation : y (ml O2 g-1 h-1) = 0.727--0.018 Ta. The minimal thermal conductance was 90% of the predicted value according to the formula : C (ml O2 g-1 h-1 degrees C-1) = 1.02 W-0.505 (HERREID & KESSEL, 1967). Kinkajous are another distinct exception to the mouse to elephant curve.

Naveda, J. A. S. Hitoria natural y ecologia del cuchicuchi (Potos flavus: Carnivora), en Barlovento, Estado Miranda, Venezuela. 1992. Universidad Central de Venezuela. Abstract: diet, some group size stuff, lots of morphology, 55 stomachs

Pacheco, V., de Macedo, H., vivar, E., Ascorra, C., Arana-Cardo, R. and Solari, S. 1995. Lista anotada de los mamiferos Peruanos. - Occasional Papers in Conservation Biology, Conservation International 2: 1-35.

Pernalete, J. M. 1997. Management and reproduction of the Kinkajou Potos flavus at Barquisimeto Zoo. - International Zoo Yearbook 35: 287-289. Abstract: The Kinkajou Potos flavus is arboreal and largely nocturnal. At time of writing 3.3 are housed at Barquisimeto Zoo. In 2 years only one pair have bred. This paper describes the management of the species at the Zoo giving information on the enclosure and diet, and the rearing and development of young.

Poglayen-Neuwall, I. 1966. On the marking behavior of the kinkajou (Potos flavus Schreber). - Zoologica 51: 137-141. Abstract: captivity

Poglayen-Neuwall, I. 1976. Zur Fortpflanzungsbiologie und Jugendentwicklung von Potos flavus (Schreber 1774). - Der Zoologische Garten 46: 237-283. Abstract: kinkajou behavior in captivity

Redford, K. H. and Stearman, A. M. C. 1993. Notas sobre la biologia de tres procyonidos simpatricos Bolivianos (Mammalia, Procyonidae). - Ecologia en Bolivia 21: 35-44. Abstract: notes on kinkajou, olingo, and coati (nasua nasua). . Say hunters cut down trees where kinks and olingos roost to pull them out. Say kinkajoju more abundant. gives stomach contentes for nasua and potos

Redford, K., MacLean Stearman, A. and Trager, J. 1989. The Kinkajou (Potos Flavus) as a Myrmecophage. - Mammalia. 1989; 53(1): 132-134.

Sheldon, W. G. and Savage, N. L. 1971. Salmonellosis in a kinkajou. - J Am Vet Med Assoc 159: 624-5.

Terborgh, J. W., Fitzpatrick, J. W. and Emmons, L. 1984. Annotated checklist of bird and mammal species of Cocha Cashu Biological Station, Manu National Park, Peru. - Fieldiana Zoology, new series 21: 1-29.

Thatcher, V. E., Eisenmann, C. and Hertig, M. 1965. A natural infection of Leishmania in the kinkajou, Potos flavus, in Panama. - J Parasitol 51: 1022-3.

Woodman, N., Timm, R. M., Arana, R. C., Pacheco, V., Schmidt, C. A., Hooper, E. D. and Pacheco, C. A. 1991. Anotated checklist of the mammals of Cuzco Amazonica, Peru. - Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence. 145: 1-12.

Wright, S. J., Carrasco, C., Calderon, O. and Paton, S. 1999. The El Nino Southern Oscillation, variable fruit production, and famine in a tropical forest. - Ecology 80: 1632-1647. Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that the El Nino Southern Oscillation influences forest-wide fruit production, which, in turn, limits frugivorous and granivorous mammals on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. Observations of BCI mammals have been compiled for 49 years. Frugivorous mammals experienced famine between September and January in 1931-1932, 1958-1959, 1970-1971, and 1993-1994. The most recent famine is evident from an 11-yr record of natural deaths of mammals and a 2-yr record of population densities. Famine occurred every time a mild dry season followed an El Nino event in the 49-yr record. This coincidence is statistically improbable, as demonstrated by a randomization test. A 2-yr cycle of high, then low community-level fruit production has been observed twice for BCI when a mild dry season followed an El Nino event. We used 260 litter traps to monitor community- and species-level fruit production from 1 January 1987 through 30 June 1996. Community-level fruit production was greatest during the 1992 El Nino event and lowest one year later, after the mild 1993 dry season. We also reinterpret an earlier 2-yr record of fruit production in light of our 9.5-yr record of fruit production. Community-level fruit production was elevated during the 1969 El Nino event and was very low one year later, after the mild 1970 dry season. We hypothesize that (1) El Nino conditions enhance fruit production; (2) high fruit production consumes stored reserves, limiting the next reproductive event; and (3) mild dry seasons reduce fruit production. Each plant species may respond to any combination of the three components of this hypothesis. Community-level fruit production is extremely low when species sensitive to components 1 and 2 are entrained with species sensitive to component 3, or when a mild dry season follows one year after an El Nino event. El Nino events bring dry, sunny conditions to BCI and a large portion of the wet tropics. Drought and sun may both favor fruit production in wet tropical forests. Drought is known to synchronize flowering, and sunny conditions may relieve light limitation. The El Nino Southern Oscillation has a strong 24-mo periodicity. This creates a strong tendency for dry, sunny years to alternate with wet, cloudy years in Central America and elsewhere in the tropics. We present evidence that this alternately enhances and reduces fruit production on BCI. Terborgh hypothesized that predators regulate frugivorous mammals in tropical forests. As a corollary, he further hypothesized that famines occur on BCI because several large predators are absent and frugivores escape predation. We extended censuses to the nearby mainland to evaluate this hypothesis. Poachers, who are active on the mainland, reduce the abundances of game species below levels maintained in the presence of large felids and raptors. There was evidence for famine in poached, mainland populations, and we rejected the hypothesis that reduced predation pressure is a prerequisite for famine.

Zhang, Y. P. and Ryder, O. A. 1993. Mitochondrial DNA sequence evolution in the arctoidea. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 90: 9557-9561. Abstract: Some taxa in the superfamily Arctoidea, such as the giant panda and the lesser panda, have presented puzzles to taxonomists. In the present study, apprxeq 397 bases of the cytochrome b gene, 364 bases of the 12S rRNA gene, and 74 bases of the tRNA-Thr and tRNA-Pro genes from the giant panda, lesser panda, kinkajou, raccoon, coatimundi, and all species of the Ursidae were sequenced. The high transition/transversion ratios in cytochrome b and RNA genes prior to saturation suggest that the presumed transition bias may represent a trend for some mammalian lineages rather than strictly a primate phenomenon. Transversions in the 12S rRNA gene accumulate in arctoids at about half the rate reported for artiodactyls. Different arctoid lineages evolve at different rates: the kinkajou, a procyonid, evolves the fastest, 1.7-1.9 times faster than the slowest lineage that comprises the spectacled and polar bears. Generation-time effect can only partially explain the different rates of nucleotide substitution in arctoids. Our results based on parsimony analysis show that the giant panda is more closely related to bears than to the lesser panda; the lesser panda is neither closely related to bears nor to the New World procyonids. The kinkajou, raccoon, and coatimundi diverged from each other very early, even though they group together. The polar bear is closely related to the spectacled bear, and they began to diverge from a common mitochondrial ancestor apprxeq 2 million years ago. Relationships of the remaining rive bear species are derived.da:SnohalebjÝrn de:Wickelbšr fr:kinkajou nl:Kinkajoe ru:Кинкажу


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