What to consider when adopting a kinkajou
If you're thinking of adopting a kinkajou please take a moment to consider the following. These adorable bears may be cute and cuddly when they are babies but they will require over twenty years of care. One of the oldest kinkajous in captivity lived to be forty years old! They are nocturnal and will need socialization, a balanced diet, vet care, grooming, and environmental enrichment. Since they are awake all night they can be noisy and will be vocal and chirp almost like birds. They require a lot of space since they normally live in trees and need plenty of objects to climb to simulate their natural environment.
Since kinkajous are arboreal keep in mind you should provide a large space with plenty of branches, hammocks, swings, hide boxes, and tunnels for them to explore throughout the night. Introducing new toys, puzzle feeders, and scent retaining materials regularly will help keep your kinkajou busy as well. Always provide several bowls of water & food when using a large area or when housing multiple animals together. Using puppy pads, bedding, or newspaper on the bottom of the cage or environment is very useful. This is typically where they will go potty. Clean their environment with a non-toxic cleaner to ensure their safety.
Environmental enrichment comes in many forms. From scent retaining materials to puzzle toys, your kinkajou requires regular stimulation to keep them from getting bored. They are called "honey bears" because they enjoy foraging for sap and insects inside trees. Try to recreate this when providing treats or food by hanging items from multiple areas. You can find many foraging toys and puzzle feeders online and in pet stores. Mixing gum powder with honey or peanut butter and hiding it inside a toy will certainly make a kinkajou happy. Rotating ropes, swings, and toys will help keep them from getting bored as well.
Positive Reinforcement & Training
Your kinkajou may want to play bite sometimes. Remember to stay calm and NEVER hit your animal. The best options for this action is to redirect or timeout. Learn their habits so when they begin to bite provide another toy or activity to redirect their attention. If biting persists leave them for a few minutes to give them a chance to calm down.
To reward good behavior use treats and praise as positive reinforcement. Gummy bears, raisins, dried meal worms, and small marshmallows are just a few fun and safe treats.
As far as potty training goes, diapers are an option if they will keep them on. You can even harness train them. For the most part, kinkajous like to "perch" somewhere high to potty. They typically do not use litter boxes.
Kinkajous usually do not like getting wet. With that being said, we should strive to provide a positive experience for both the kinkajou and ourselves when grooming is necessary. Draw a warm bath and place them in the tub after it is filled. Running water can be scary so make sure it's turned off. Gloves may be necessary since they have sharp claws. Puppy shampoo is a safe option to use. I would recommend mixing it with the bath water to make for an easy rinse. If bathing in a tub is not an option you can also try animal safe wipes. Just remember that kinkajous secrete a brown oil that will make them appear darker with age and you will notice this around their enclosure. It's okay to trim their nails but remember they use them for climbing and foraging. Only trim the tips so you don't cut into the quick. If you choose not to trim them just watch for overgrown nails. To finish your grooming experience with positive reinforcement be sure to give your kinkajou a special treat!
A kinkajou should have a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, protein, and treats. To ensure a healthy and happy kinkajou provide eighty percent produce and only twenty percent protein. Using commercial diet food is a good way to also provide a healthy diet. I would suggest giving this as their early meal since they typically prefer fresh food over the biscuits. Remember that red meat can be hard to digest. It is also best to avoid bones and small seeds in their food. Keep their healthy teeth and gums in mind by offering options such as carrots and apples. Also try jerky as a positive treat for chewing.
Fruit: Apple, Apricot, Banana, Blackberry, Cantaloupe, Cherry, Cranberry, Dragon Fruit, Fig, Grape, Guava, Honeydew, Kiwi, Mango, Melon, Nectarine, *Orange, Papaya, Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Pomegranate, Rambuton, Raspberry, Starfruit, Tamarind, *Tangerine, Tomato, Watermelon
Vegetables: Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Bell Pepper, *Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, *Cauliflower, Carrot, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Fennel, Jicama, Kale, **Legumes, Lettuce, Portabella Mushroom, Potato, Radish, Squash, Sweet Potato, Yams
**Legumes: Alfalfa Sprouts, Bean Sprouts, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Green Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Pinto Beans, Soy Beans, Peas, Sugar Snap Peas
Proteins: **Beans, Bee Pollen, Chicken, Duck, Eggs, Fish, Lactose-free cheese, Peanut Butter, *Pork, Tofu, Turkey, Yogurt
*IN MODERATION **Legumes or Beans
If you have a picky kinkajou who avoids their monkey biscuits try soaking them in water and blending with their favorite fruits. I use this idea to incorporate unwanted veggies as well. Use ice cube molds to freeze and save for later.
Kong brand toys are great for hiding nectar, yogurt, and peanut butter. Organic Moringa Leaf Powder can be mixed for added nutrients. Also check out Guar Gum powder and Exotic Nutrition Nectar Pods.
ZuPreem and Mazuri are both great commercial brands to find monkey biscuits.
Good 'N' Fun Chews are wonderful treats for the teeth!
Creating puzzle feeders can be cheap and easy to make.
For additional information on kinkajou care, diet, & training please visit our dear friends at
Here you can also sponsor kinkajous, donate, get Kinkatopia merch, find FAQ, and so much more!