Nasua nasua | South American Coati | Cótaí



Conservation status

Least concern

Legal status

Regulated invasive species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species [1143/2014].

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Botanical garden/zoo/aquaria, Pet/aquarium species

Introduction pathways - 2

Release in Nature

Introduction pathways subclass - 2

Other intentional release

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Omnivorous arboreal mammal with characteristic long banded tail and long snout. Similar size to a small dog. Coat colour ranges from orangish/reddish to dark brown (Gompper & Decker, 1998). Snout, feet and ears are dark brown or black. Weighs approximately 5.5kg (NNSS, undated.)


A generalist opportunistic omnivore, their diet is mainly made up of insects and fruit (Gompper & Decker, 1998). They are a human commensal and will predate domestic poultry (Baker, 2011) and consume human refuse (Gompper & Decker, 1998). They will also eat birds’ eggs and may compete for nest sites (European Commission, 2015). Their presence is associated with a decrease in biodiversity with potential effects on native fauna and endangered species as with the Majorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) (European Commission, 2017). Nasua narica is known for crop raiding decreasing crop productivity and this may be an impact of N. nasua establishment (European Commission, 2015). Carriers of rabies, tuberculosis, canine and feline distemper, parvovirus and leptospirosis. Diurnal and can be arboreal (European Commission, 2015).


Adult males are solitary only joining the females briefly during the breeding season (AZA, 2010). Females and young live in social groups called 'bands' (Marchant, 2012). Males and females reach sexual maturity at approximately 2 years of age (AZA, 2010; Gompper & Decker, 1998). They are seasonal breeders producing 2-7 young after a 72 – 77 day gestation (AZA, 2010). Females build nests in trees where the young remain for 5-6 weeks. The young are weaned by 4 months (AZA, 2010; Gompper & Decker, 1998).

Pathway and vector description

The main pathway is escape form zoos, wildlife/private collections or deliberate introductions/release (Baker, 2011). Available for purchase on the internet in Europe (Baker, 2011). Natural populations can then establish from small numbers of founder animals (European Commission, 2015). Spread from there is via natural dispersal and they may cover long distances when searching for food (Marchant, 2012).

Mechanism of impact

Predation, Disease transmission

Management approach

There is currently an EU wide ban on the sale of this species and personal and zoo ownership is being phased out (European Commission, 2017).

Little information is available on the control of this species. However, they are elusive making management difficult and there are few possible predators of this species in Europe (European Commission, 2015).

Hirsch (2015) suggests similar methods of control as for raccoons (Procyon lotor). Control of these is usually achieved by live trapping or shooting.

Early detection and rapid eradication seems critical in preventing establishment of this species.

Broad environment


Habitat description

Forested areas, grassland, savannah as well as dry scrub land. Will live in close proximity to humans (Gompper & Decker, 1998).

Species group


Native region

South America


World distribution(GBIF)

Introduced species in Robinson Crusoe Island (Chile), Majorca, Anchiete Island (Brazil) and in Florida. Countries considered to be at risk of establishment in Europe are France, Greece, Italy and Portugal, (European Commission, 2015).

Native distribution

Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico (Marchant, 2012).

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2024

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

Report any sighting to the National Biodiversity Centre.

Do not purchase or keep as a pet.

Do not release in the wild.



AZA Small Carnivore TAG (2010) Procyonid (Procyonidae) Care Manual. Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Silver Spring, MD. p.114. Site accessed 4 October 2017.

Baker, S. (2011). GB Non-native Organism Risk Assessment for Nasua nasua. Site accessed 4 October 2017.

European Commission (2015) Risk Assessment for Nasua nasua. EU non-native species risk analysis. EU non-native organism risk assessment scheme. European Union, Luxembourg.

European Commission. (2017). Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern. European Union, Luxembourg.

Gompper, ME & Decker, DM (1998) Nasua nasua. Mammalian species No. 580, pp. 1-9 Site accessed 4 October 2017.

Hirsch, B (2015) Invasive Species Compendium Nasua nasua. Datasheet. Site accessed 4 October 2017.

Marchant, J (2012) Coati, Nasua nasua. Factsheet. GB Non-native Species Secretariat. Site accessed 4 October 2017.

Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) (undated) Coatimundi identification sheet. Site accessed 4 October 2017.

Animal Diversity Web

Additional comments

The species survived during the winter in the Lake District in the UK for some time but the risk assessment carried out for the UK by Baker (2011) summarises establishment as unlikely.

The coati is sometimes referred to as coatimundi. This name comes from the local people’s name for the solitary male coati (Gompper & Decker, 1998).