About a week or so before Thanksgiving, our friends (and neighbors) Toni and Gib arrived home late in the afternoon. Since they hadn’t ventured too far away, they had left the sliding doors that faced their swimming pool wide open. They weren’t home but a few minutes when they realized that a strange creature was in their kitchen! They had no idea what type of animal had invaded their home, but the little guy was very destructive. He jumped onto the kitchen bar and began to wreak havoc! He ran up and down the counters and climbed onto top of the cabinets pushing whatever was in his way onto the floor. They tried to chase him away, but he just climbed higher up onto the cabinets.
Gib decided to throw an apple at him hoping that would chase him away, but he caught it with one paw and started to eat it. Then Gib decided to spray some water at him thinking this might prompt him to leave the house. The the little guy used the water to wash his face and paws.
In between bouts of destruction, Toni would run into the kitchen to salvage her nicer dishes and glassware taking them into the bedroom. While all this was going on, Toni’s son Deon who was visiting did a Google search and discovered their uninvited house guest was a kinkajou. They had hoped that by learning a little bit about the kinkajou, they could figure out how to get him to leave the house. Since it was well into the night, they decided the best course of action was to stay in their bedrooms, leave all the doors open and hope the kinkajou would leave on his own.
The next morning, Toni cautiously ventured into the kitchen to clean up the mess. After looking around at the destruction, she thought it would be a good idea to have a cup of coffee first. She opened the cabinet door where she kept the coffee cups and found the kinkajou sleeping soundly on top of the cups. Toni screamed loudly!
Gib and Deon came running into the kitchen. The kinkajou didn’t like being woken up with such a loud noise. He started jumping around and breaking more things. Then, he became aggressive and attacked Gib. The kinkajou scratched Gib’s shoulder and chest with its long claws. Gib threw a can of beans at him, but hit the refrigerator instead. The kinkajou took refuge inside the cabinet.
They called the local wildlife reserve and asked for help…the person who answered the phone said, “We have no idea how to help you. Good luck!” It wasn’t long before Toni and Gib’s gardener arrived and with his help, they all managed to get the kinkajou outside. They closed all the windows and doors and decided to keep them closed for the next few days.
The next evening, the kinkajou returned. Since all the windows and doors were shut, the kinkajou couldn’t get into the house, but he did try. For an hour, the kinkajou peered in every window and door pushing on the glass and screens trying to find a way in. Toni told us that it was really cute they way he looked in at them. It was too bad that he was so destructive. The kinkajou ended up eating all the fruit in the bowl on the outside table before he left.
A couple of days later, they found the kinkajou sleeping in the garage. Gib had inadvertently left the garage door open during the night and the kinkajou returned. He had a feast on some of the food that Toni stored there including her extra stash of chocolate icing and cocoa. Evidently, kinkajous like sweets even though they aren’t good for them. Toni and Gib hoped the kinkajou didn’t get sick from all the sweets. They were in a quandary about how they were going to prevent the kinkajou from continuing to return. Thanksgiving was just a couple of days away and they surely didn’t want the uninvited guest to show up for dinner. As it turned out, it was easier than they thought.
It was Deon’s idea to try and use a cat carrier to trap the kinkajou. He put a banana inside the cat carrier and placed it near the kinkajou, which walked right into it without a fuss. Deon and Gib placed the carrier in the car and drove him all the way down the hill. The kinkajou ate the banana during the ride down. They let the kinkajou out at the very bottom of our hill not too far from a wooded area. So far, the kinkajou has not returned.
Here is some information about the kinkajou courtesy of Wikipedia: An adult kinkajou weighs between 3–10 pounds. The adult body length is 16–24 inches; in addition to body length, the tail length is 16–24 inches. The kinkajou’s woolly fur consists of an outer coat of gold (or brownish-gray) overlapping a gray undercoat. It has large eyes and small ears. It also has short legs with five toes on each foot and sharp claws. Although the kinkajou is classified in the order Carnivora and has sharp teeth, its omnivorous diet consists mainly of fruit. Kinkajous particularly enjoy figs. Studies have shown that 90% of their diet consists of (primarily ripe) fruit. While they are usually solitary when foraging, they occasionally forage in small groups. A nocturnal animal, the kinkajou’s peak activity is usually between about 7:00 PM and midnight, and again an hour before dawn. During daylight hours, kinkajous sleep in tree hollows or in shaded tangles of leaves, avoiding direct sunlight.
Kinkajous are sometimes kept as exotic pets. They are playful, generally quiet, docile, and have little odor. However, they can occasionally be aggressive. Kinkajous dislike sudden movements, noise, and being awake during the day. An agitated kinkajou may emit a scream and attack, usually clawing its victim and sometimes biting deeply. It has recently been discovered that pet kinkajous in the United States can be carriers of the roundworm. They live an average of about 23 years in captivity.