Every heard of the honey bear? Some people are under the misconception that this "primate" is related to bears (which doesn't make sense seeing how bears and chimps are not related). The kinkajou, Potus flavus, is a small mammal native to Central and South America with coarse, red fur and a fully prehensile tail. As one of two mammals with prehensile tails (the other is the binturong), "kinks" as we call them are related to raccoons and have long, thin tongues. They use their tail as a fifth limb and often hang upside down. Kinkajous can also turn their feet entirely backwards for ease in coming down trees.
We have two kinkajous at Carolina Tiger Rescue: Albert and Wednesday. Wednesday used to be someone's pet and was defanged and declawed (an unethical practice in my opinion). Albert was never someone's pet. Both were surrendered to Carolina Tiger years ago. Although they look cute and cuddly, the kinks are a Level 4 on aggression... the same as the tigers. They have very sharp teeth and they are extremely quick. Their little fingers are amazingly human but they emit the most unnatural hissing sound when irritated... which is often. These nocturnal creatures stay inside during the winter since they are not adapted for cold weather. We keep them in the vet room in separate cages next to eachother. They are arboreal so we keep branches and rope in the enclosures for them to climb on.
Albert likes to sleep in newspaper and Wednesday holds on to her tail like a security blanket when she sleeps. I really enjoy spending time with Wednesday because although she hisses and acts unfriendly some of the time, she always pushes her head against the fence so I can use a stick to scratch her head. Since Carolina Tiger is a no touch facility no one can touch the animals, but Wednesday does enjoy being cooed at regardless. Albert... kind of dislikes most people.
Since they are inside for the winter, the kink enclosures are cleaned each day and enrichment is provided each day as well. Kinkajous love peanut butter and ours will do almost anything for it. They are fed one pound of fruit and vegetables each day.
When kinkajous are waking up, their bodies shake as if they are cold. It is a muscle response and entirely natural.
Here Wednesday is working to figure out how to get the peanut butter inside a plastic cone. Their little hands and long tongues make access much easier.
Kinks do not make good pets. They may weigh a mere five pounds and eat mostly fruit, but they would try to take a bite out of my peanut butter-covered fingers any day. And I'm not sure if it's the peanut butter.