Kinkajous do require a little more care than your average pet as well as time and living space. With any exotic pet the extra effort you put into caring for it is well worth it.
Background Information: The Kinkajou (potos flavus) a.k.a. the "honey bear," is native to the South American and is a nocturnal tree dweller. It is a small mammal averaging about 35-46 inches from head to tail; the body being slightly longer than the tail.
Kinkajous usually live around 20-25 years but can live over 40 years. They breed throughout the year with a gestation period of 112-118 days producing a litter of 1-2 young.
The kinkajou is a member of the Procyonidae genus which puts it in with the raccoon. Also, like the raccoon, the kinkajou has a high level of dexterity that rivals the primate. But, unlike the raccoon, the kinkajou can use its tail much like a "fifth arm" when climbing trees.
Paris Hilton's pet kinkajou "Baby Luv" has recently gained popularity for biting her on TMZ. But, you can't blame the kinkajou.
Normally, kinkajous are not aggressive and would rarely attack.
Theres two things Paris should have known being a kinkajou owner. Kinkajous are nocturnal i.e. they hate bright lites and they are shy and don't like being over crowed.
So, if you take a kinkajou out shopping. Then you get swarmed by paparazzi being all loud with their cameras flashing. It's going to bite the crap out of you.
Does a kinkajou make a good pet? Attitude-wise, yes, owners often report having strong bonds with their kinkajou; as well as kind and loving behavior. But, as far as maintenance goes, a kinkajou can be quite costly and time-consuming.
The first thing any potential kinkajou owner needs to be aware of is their extensive need for living space. Their cage should be at least 4-ft wide and 4-ft tall with plenty of ledges and toys available. Many owners often dedicate whole rooms to their kinkajou. They tend to be active at night and can make a variety of high-pitched howls. So you might want to keep them away from your bedroom.
unfortunately, most attempts at litter training sure have been unsuccessful, but they like to "go" from the same perch every time so you can just place a litter under that for marginal success.
The second thing you need to know before looking into kinajou ownership is the amount of time you need to put into taking care of it. Owners need to spend time every day bonding with their kinkajou every day (usually perched on your shoulder.) But, if you're not a night person you can forget getting one all together. Kinkajou are active at night and like to sleep during the day and don't like to be disturbed. If you wake them during the day they are more likely to display aggressive behavior such as biting or scratching.
You should feed your kinkajou a diet of mainly monkey/parrot biscuits soaked in fruit juice you can get them in most pet stores. You will supplement this with plenty of fruit like bananas, mango, kiwi, grapes, etc. Then they also need live insects, also found in a pet store, and you can treat them with honey or flowers.
You need to avoid feeding your kinkajou any citric fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and avocados. Also, many kinkajou are allergic to strawberries. Things like chocolate, caffeine, and milk need to be avoided as well.
Kinkajous are susceptible to the same diseases as cats and dogs as well as humans. It is very important that you see a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals so your kinkajou gets all the right vaccines.
They can carry a specific type of round worm, Baylisascaris, which is highly contagious to people so get that checked for as well.
Kinkajous can be spayed or neutered to reduce aggression if you're not breeding them. This needs to be done around the 1-2 year mark, which is around the time that they mature into adulthood.
States that you can legally own a kinkajou:
- Pink = Ban
- Green = Partial Ban
- Aqua = Permit required
- Brown = Legal
More specific legal information can be found here.
If you are one of the lucky states you might be thinking, how much does a kinkajou cost? The kinkajou alone costs anywhere from 1600-2000$ depending on the breeder you buy it from. Usually though, you aren't going to find one anywhere close and you are going to have to pay expensive shipping costs as well.