Some mammals that inhabit the Celestun Biosphere Reserve:
Opossum or possum
The opposums or possums and their close relatives are the only marsupials than inhabit the American continent. They have no relation with the foxes, but they do with the Australian kangaroos. They can eat any kind of food and inhabit any kind of jungle, unfortunately the deforestation has send them to urban areas where they feed with eggs and chickens.
Frequently despised, the opossums provide ecological benefits for the human; for instance they also feed from dangerous snakes, rats, cockroaches, warms, and even carrion.
Often confused as part of the bear family, the tamanduas are related to the sloths from South America and to the nine-banded armadillo. They lack teeth due to their feeding, having a long and sharp snout with a large and sticky tongue, that can be pulled out between 120 and 180 times per minute!
The tamanduas have three sharp claws, allowing them to break termite nests, but preventing to walk with their palms, instead they use their wrists to walk.
They have has small eyes and very limited visibility, depending on their smell to locate the ants and termites colonies.
Their name comes from their long hands and legs extremities that contrast with their small body, having also a long, prehensile tail.
Spider monkeys are sociable animals: they gather in groups of up to 20 members. They are exclusively herbivorous, having their smell and taste senses very developed. You can see them examining the leaves and fruits before eating them.
They spend almost all their lives at the top of the trees, where they can obtain everything they need: fruits and leaves, water from the branches cavities, bromelias and other succulent species. They rarely come down: only in dry seasons when the water is scarce.
The Pacas are the biggest rodents in Mexico, and the second in the continent, after the Capybara from South America. They can reach 80 cm. long, and can weight almost 14 kg. They have long sloths and whiskers, similar to mice, but with no tail.
The pacas live in hummocks and other places abundant in fruits, like coastal dunes. They are strictly nocturnal, lonely and vegetarian, mainly eating fruits, seeds, sprouts and barks when the food is scarce.
The male and female live in different burrows, splitting the territory to better protect it.
The kinkajous are not very known by humans, mainly because their nocturnal habits. People confuse them with honey bears or night monkeys, but they have no relation. Instead, the Kinkajou is related to the Chinese Panda bear (neither of them belongs to the bear family)
The Kinkajous are short, robust, with very long prehensile tails, big eyes, small ears and short velvety golden brown fur. They fed with insects and nectar. Their tongue can measure 15 cm. so they can easily catch the insects from the bottom of the fruits and flowers.
The kinkajous are affected by the deforestation and because they are frequently sold as pets; but the people who buy them usually regrets when the Kinkajou destroys the furniture at night, when he starts his normal activity.
Considered the King of the jungle in the American continent, the Jaguar is only smaller than the African Lion and the Asian Tiger. They can measure up to 1.7 meters long and weight 120 kilos.
Their yellow /orange color with black spots allows them to hunt in the jungle without being seen by their prey. They can hunt deer, coatis, pacas, monkeys and even fishes.
The jaguars are an endangered species because the jungles are being segmented and crossed by the roads. With the loss of habitat comes the loss of available food for the Jaguar.
These mammals can measure up to 1 meter without the tail, almost as big as a young jaguar. They spend their time in trees, but hunt in the ground, usually monkeys, nasuas, birds and reptiles. Sometimes, they cross great water extensions to reach the birds nesting areas.
Onclilla or tiger cat
Similar but smaller than the ocelot, the tiger cat is barely larger than a domesticated cat. The male can weigh up to 6 kilos and the female only 3. The tiger cats spend most of their time in trees and they feed from birds, smaller mammals and reptiles. The deforestation has diminished their habitat, because they depend on trees to live.
The raccoons are mangrove’s specialists: they have nocturnal habits, but take advantage during the day when the tide has fallen and the crabs are exposed.
The raccoons are sociable animals, often seen in family groups feeding by the mangroves. They usually eat crabs, fishes and when the food is scarce, carrion.
During the day they hide at the top of the trees, in holes or in burrows. During the crocodile nesting they can cause severe damages to the clutch, but can also get killed. They can also cause great damage to the sea turtle clutch.
The coati is very similar to the racoon, but has a longer tail and snout. They are mainly fed with fruits and insects, but can also catch a bird or a smaller mammal. The coatis have strong canine tooth capable of causing severe damage to their pray. The Mayans adapted these animals as pets. When young, the Coatis can be playful, but as they grow older they tend to be irritable, being able to attack their masters. Most of the coati pets run away from their masters and go back to the wild life, where they end up being other animal food.