Pizote

The Pizote or white-nose coati (Nasua narica) is a relative of the raccoon, but has a longer snout and tail. It is also known as Coatimundi

How is the word pronounced? Listen below

The Mayan name for the pizote is Chi’ik or Ch’we, but the Lacandon Maya call it Ts’uts’u.

The pizote can be found in wet tropical forests and scrubland all over Central America. It weighs about 4-6 kg and the average length of an adult, from tail to nose, is about 110 cm. Their tail is generally equal in length to their body.

Pizote walking behind a Maya temple-pyramid

Pizotes are omnivores, that is they eat both meat and plants. They eat small vertebrates, fruits, insects, small snakes, eggs and even carrion.

Although, they are mostly found on the ground foraging, pizotes can easily climb trees where their tail is used for balance very much like squirrels.

While raccoons are active by night (nocturnal), coatis are mostly active by day (diurnal). At night, they retire to a specific tree.

Pizote move as large families. Sisters, aunts, cousins and all their young travel together through the rainforest, protecting each other and foraging for food.

The adult males are not allowed to travel with the group. Only between January to March (mating season) do females accept them into the group, otherwise they travel alone.

To communicate, they use a variety of chirping, grunting and snorting sounds that express emotions like happiness, victory after a fight, anger, irritation, or claims to food while foraging.

Pizote are friendly creatures, one would keep Dr Diane company whilst she was excavating. They were kept as pets by the ancient Maya.


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