How to legally own a pet kinkajou

Updated February 21, 2017

Looking like a cross between a monkey and a ferret, kinkajous have become popular pets in recent years due to their relative docility and their long lifespans (up to 40 years in some cases). While kinkajous can deliver nasty bites when properly agitated, most of the time they are delightful pets and can develop close bonds with their owners.

Determine whether you can legally own pet kinkajous where you live. While most states have refrained from passing any overall restrictions on the legal ownership of kinkajous, many are considering a revision to laws in response to reports of bites and attacks. Check with your local animal-control district to find out whether an exotic pet permit is required before you can legally own a kinkajou.

Ensure that you have designed a proper enclosure before you legally own a pet kinkajou. By nature, kinkajous are escape artists and can easily tear apart chicken wire or dig underneath dirt. In addition, kinkajous need to be protected from temperatures below 60 degrees F, so heat lamps must be added to any outdoor enclosure.

Predict how your neighbors may respond when you bring kinkajous into your home, especially if you live in an apartment or other multi-unit housing. Kinkajous are nocturnal, can be very active at night and are likely to be noisy as well. When alarmed, a kinkajou can make a sound that is similar to a woman's scream.

Learn how to handle pet kinkajous properly before you attempt to own one legally. Kinkajous are normally docile and slow, but they react negatively to sudden movements or being awakened during the day. Many bites from kinkajous are the direct results of trying to disturb them while they sleep.

Monitor the health of pet kinkajous daily. While kinkajous have relatively long lifespans, they may develop several health problems if their diets and habitats are not attended to correctly. Finding a veterinarian who has experience in treating kinkajous should be a priority.


Feed your kinkajou a diet that is composed primarily of fruit, especially bananas, mangos, grapes and melons. Monkey chow may also be used to feed domesticated kinkajous.


Watch out for pet kinkajou attacks. In many cases, pet kinkajous will become aggravated and bite or claw their owners, even after being kept as pets for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Cage or enclosure
  • Heat lamps
  • Permit
  • Vet who specializes in the care of kinkajous
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