Coati are one of my favorite little mammals of the neotropical rainforest. Though their range does stretch into the very southern edge of the United States, the white nose coati is more typically associated with the lush rainforests of Central and South America.
I photographed this guy while in the cloud forests of western Panama this winter. These cloud forests are place of immense beauty. And when you see photos out of context, it would be easy to assume they were made in Great Smoky Mountain National Park or Olympic National Park which are both of these places are temperate rainforests.
The clouds forests of Panama sit at high elevation and are almost constantly enveloped in clouds. With cool temperatures and roughly 200 inches of precipitation every year, over half of the species that live in these forests are endemic – meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. In essence, these mountain tops are islands in the sky and each one often harbors its own menagerie of species.
Clicking the photo will open a larger, but lower resolution, image.