We said goodbye to Peanut the coati last week. She was very close to reaching her 15th birthday! That’s pretty old for a coati, but then Peanut was never just average, was she?
Peanut was discovered on a rooftop in Apache Junction way back in 2009 and from that moment she was determined to have her own way. At about 6 weeks old she should have been with her mother, and still nursing. Her tiny teeth were brand new. Ravenously hungry and thirsty, she had no clue what to do with a baby bottle or how to drink or lick food from a dish. In desperation, she was offered a small slice of watermelon. That was it – she couldn’t get enough! She finally did try some formula (but didn’t like it much), tasted broccoli (meh), and ate some hard-boiled egg. Her hunger and thirst satisfied at last, she hung on the crate door, pressed her now-round belly against the bars, and reached out with a little paw. It was apparent that she had been handled by people because she had no fear and, in fact, was seeking human interaction. It was impossible not to rub the offered belly. Her eyes closed, she buried her face behind her arms, smacked her mouth, and fell fast asleep. She just wanted a little comfort. Sadly, it was clear she could never be released.
As she grew up Peanut took charge of the enclosure she shared with other coatis. Her energy was endless, but, just like when she was tiny, if she stopped moving, she was fast asleep in no time. She was generous with her attention to volunteers, staff and the many people who met her on tours of the sanctuary. Peanut graciously accepted all the adoration, especially if it also involved her favorite treat – a mouscicle.
These last few years, Peanut got slower and her much-younger roommates moved on to other enclosures where they could be rambunctious, leaving her to some well-deserved peace and quiet. Even then she hardly missed a beat until last week when her balance and coordination left her, and we had to say goodbye.
Peanut the coati was, like her name, a little nugget of sunshine at Southwest Wildlife. We adored her.
What a privilege it is to work for these wild lives. Thank you to everyone who has taken this journey with us.
Please contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area as soon as possible if you ever come across a young wild animal. Wildlife belongs in the wild and rehabbers know best how to get them back there.
Written by long time animal care staff member and dedicated volunteer, Kris Wheaton