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South American coati

Nasua nasua

Coati’s are Brazil’s answer to meerkats. They look like a cross between a badger and a ring-tailed lemur, actually they are related to racoons. They have two very distinctive features: a long fluffy tail that they hold high in the air while they forage, and a very moveable nose that they use to sniff out food.

they are completely omnivorous: if they can catch it, they will eat it
Wild Brazil

Like racoons, they are completely omnivorous. If they can catch it, they will eat it – as long as they can keep it from pesky caracaras - scavenging birds of prey.

They are quite a common animal in some parts of Brazil, but people outside the country have rarely heard of them. This is mainly down to the fact they are quite hard to film. They tend to spend their time in forests, and therefore can be hard to follow. By working with Brazilians who really know the country’s wildlife, the Wild Brazil team were led to a group of coatis in the hot, beautiful ‘vasantes’ of the southern Pantanal. Here, they emerge from the woods by day to forage in the grasslands, providing an unprecedented view of the whole group in the open with their stripy tails erect.

Having located a group, the challenge was to keep them close and find the right moments to film. A Pantaneiro cowboy was sent ahead of the crew to spend several weeks with the coatis, so they would grow used to a human presence. Cameraman Barrie Britton then spent months following the group, watching them from a distance before eventually filming some remarkably intimate moments.