Hey, Defenders! After reading that kinkajou fact sheet I bet I know what you’re thinking. “Oh my goodness, kinkajous are so CUTE! I want one!” Well, they are cute, that is true. However, being cute doesn’t necessarily make an ideal pet. Despite being one of the most fascinating animals of the rainforest, the average family home is no place for a kinkajou.
Noisy Nocturnal Nonsense
Kinkajous are nocturnal, meaning that are active at night. Those big, Gollum-like eyes should’ve been your first clue. Their peak hours of activity are between 7 pm and midnight, which is when most people are enjoying a good night’s rest. Kinkajous are also noisy animals, often making screeches and barks that your neighbors will not likely appreciate.
High Rise Living
In the wild, kinkajous are found way up in the tree canopy and rarely descend to the ground. As a result, they tend to need very large enclosures with lots of vertical space for climbing and places to hide. Kinkajous engage in most of their behavior while aloft, including relieving themselves. Since kinkajous cannot be litter trained, they will seek to void themselves from whatever high perch they can reach, such as the top of a doorway, balcony or other inconvenient location. This can be a big problem for a potential pet owner, as this can create sanitation issues.
The Beast Within
Don’t let the kinkajou’s fuzziness fool you into thinking they are completely harmless. Despite the fact that its diet is almost entirely fruit, kinkajous are taxonomically consider carnivores sport the enlarged canines and powerful jaw muscles of their more meat-eating forebears. An angry or startled kinkajou will not hesitate to lash out with tooth and claw. To add insult to injury, kinkajou saliva is known to harbor the infectious bacteria Kingella potus and their feces can house the eggs of the roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis. Both require serious medical attention, and the latter can prove fatal if left untreated.
There is no denying that kinkajous are really cool. However, they are wild animals and the best place to keep one is, well, the wild. They are ill suited for a life as a household pet due to their nocturnal habits and potentially aggressive dispositions. If you really must have something similar as a companion animal, I would strongly suggest looking into a cat or small dog.