Potos flavus (Schreber)

VOSS, ROBERT S., LUNDE, DARRIN P. & SIMMONS, NANCY B., 2001, The Mammals Of Paracou, French Guiana: A Neotropical Lowland Rainforest Fauna Part 2. Nonvolant Species, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 2001 (263), pp. 1-236 : 71-72

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.1206/0003-0090(2001)263<0003:TMOPFG>2.0.CO;2

persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Potos flavus (Schreber)


Potos flavus (Schreber)

VOUCHER MATERIAL: AMNH 265956 , 265958 , 265959 , 266597–266599 , 267048 , 267050 , 267051 , 267053 , 267607 , 267608 ; MNHN 1995.954 1995.958 . Total = 17 specimens .

IDENTIFICATION: Our voucher material corresponds exactly in qualitative characters with Husson’s (1978) description of topotypic specimens from Surinam. External and craniodental dimensions of Paracou specimens (table 15) likewise overlap those of topotypes measured by Husson (op. cit.: table 43).

Although partial revisions of Potos flavus by Thomas (1902), Kortlucke ( 1973), and Hernández­Camacho ( 1977) each recognized several subspecies as valid, there has been no geographically comprehensive study of kinkajou taxonomy to date. The Paracou population is presumably referrable to P. f. flavus , but the necessity for a trinomial classification remains to be convincingly demonstrated.

FIELD OBSERVATIONS: Kinkajous are by far the commonest carnivore at Paracou. We heard them squealing and crashing about in the canopy virtually every night throughout the course of our 1991–1994 fieldwork. All of our vouchers were shot at night in trees, at estimated heights ranging from 10 to 30 m above the ground; recorded habitats include well­drained and swampy primary forest and roadside secondary growth. Although many apparently solitary individuals were encountered, kinkajous were also encountered foraging or travelling in pairs and larg­ er groups. Collected specimens accompanied by information about group size include (1) an apparently solitary subadult female, (2) an apparently solitary lactating adult female, (3) a nonlactating and nonpregnant adult female accompanied by at least one other individual, (4) a juvenile male from a group of three individuals, (5) an apparently solitary subadult male, (6) an apparently solitary adult male, and (7) an adult male accompanied by at least one other individual. None of the six adult females we collected (in August and November) were pregnant.


Only one perissodactyl species occurs at Paracou, and no others are known from any Amazonian locality. Tapir dung, spoor, and the animal itself are unmistakable.

Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus) Although feces and tracks of this species are said to be commonly encountered in the more remote and swampy parts of our study area, the animal itself is seldom seen. During ten years’ residence at Paracou, P. Petronelli (personal commun., 1993) encountered only one tapir, near a headwater stream of Crique Paracou in the daytime. Local hunters, however, are known to have killed at least two during the same interval.


Four rainforest artiodactyl species are known to occur at Paracou, and no others are expected (see appendix 1). All are unmistakable by external characters (Emmons, 1990, 1997) if a sufficiently good view is obtained.