Costa Maya, Xcalak and Mahahual (Majahual) Visitors pages - Mammels |

Cacomixtle (Bassariscus sumichrasti)

Cacomixtle A small nocturnal animal and gifted hunter, cacomixtles feed on small animals including chickens and domestic birds. Cacomixtles can be spotted in forested areas of the Mundo Maya.


CaotiThe habitat is on the forest floor in South America and Central America. The diet is insects, spiders, lizards, rodents and also fruit. It's enemies are jaguar, boas, and large birds of prey.
Coatis belong to the raccoon family. Their length is about 30-50 inches and their weight is about 6 pounds. Males are slightly bigger than females.
Coatis are most active during the day. They will sometimes venture into the local people's village and dig through their trash. They have strong claws which help them climb and dig food out of decaying logs. When they climb trees they use their tails for balancing.
They can have 3-7 young. The baby coati is about 10 inches long at birth. Babies are born with eyes and ears closed. Coatis can live as long as 14 years. Adult males are solitary in nature. Females and the young form "bands" (groups) with other coatis.


PacaThe Paca eats all fallen fruits except for citrus. It's enemies are many larger animals and hunters who hunt them with dogs. Pacas usually run away from their enemies. When disturbed they will let out a barking type noise. The paca has a short tail. It measures 24 1/2 - 32 1/2 inches. It weighs between 19 and 22 pounds. The Paca lives in a den. They are a solitary creature and are mainly nocturnal and are very good swimmers.

Bairds Tapier

TapirThe habitat is the South American Rainforests, parts of Central America and Southeast Asia. Their diet is mostly grass (green shoots), twigs and shrubs. It's enemies are poachers (for leather) and big cats like the jaguar.
There are 4 species of tapirs (3 in Central and South America, 1 in Southeast Asia). They are often found around water and are very good swimmers. They can hide and stay underwater for a couple of minutes. Tapirs are usually in no hurry and move about slowly. They look like a cross between a pig and an elephant. Tapirs have an excellent sense of smell and good hearing.
The female tapir normally gives birth to a single striped calf. Some have been known to grow nearly eight feet long.
Tapirs can live about 25-30 years in the wild. They are mainly nocturnal and usually solitary.

Bairds Tapier

Grey Fox

Grey FoxGrey foxes resemble small, gracile dogs with bushy tails. They are distinguished from most other canids by their grizzled upperparts, buff neck and black-tipped tail. The skull can be distinguished from all other North American canids by its widely separated temporal ridges that form a U-shape. Males are slightly larger than females.

The grey fox is a solitary hunter and eats a wide variety of food. The most important food source for the grey fox is probably the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), but voles, field mice, shrews, and birds are readily captured and eaten. The grey fox suppliments its diet with whatever fruits are readily available and generally eats more vegetable matter than the red fox (Vulpes vulpes).

The breeding season of grey foxes varies geographically. In Michigan, grey foxes mate in early March; in Alabama, breeding peaks occur in February. Where red foxes and grey foxes occur together, grey foxes breed 2-4 weeks after the red foxes. Gestation lasts about 53 days; the mean litter size is 3.8 and ranges from 1-7. By 3 months, pups begin to hunt with their parents. After four monthes, the young have their permanent dentition and can forage on their own. The family group remains together until autumn when the young reach sexual maturity and disperse.

Grey foxes are unique among canids in their ability to climb trees. They have strong, hooked claws that allow them to scramble up trees to avoid predators or to get fruit. They descend primarily by jumping from branch to branch. Grey foxes are nocturnal or crepuscular and den during the day in hollow trees, stumps or old woodchuck burrows. They are assumed to be monogamous; radio tracking data suggest that family groups maintain separate home ranges.

Grey Fox


Spider Monkey

Spider MonkeyThe habitat is South America in high branches and the canopy, Amazon Rainforest, Central Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil. The diet is fruits and leaves mainly. Also nuts, eggs, seeds, and insects. It's enemies are poachers (humans) and jaguars.
They are considered to be a "New World" monkey and belong to the family Cebidae and Genus Ateles. There are at least 6 different species of spider monkeys in the Genus Ateles.
Females breed at about 4 years old. They give birth to one baby at a time. The young depends on its mother for about 10 weeks. The Spider monkey has a life span of about 25 -30 years. They have very human-like fingerprints and they do not have a thumb. They have a prehensile tail which they can swing and eat with. It is a 5th hand which means it is a sensitive organ. It is longer than its body. Their tail can hold all their weight. They can also pick food with their tail.

The Black handed Spider monkey male is about 38 - 49.5 cm in length, with a tail of between 59 - 82 cm, and weighs about 7.5 kg. They have extremely flexible shoulders. Their leaping ability is tremendous and they sprawl out like a spider. They are one of the most agile and acrobatic animals in the rainforest. As they swing, they sometimes break branches and throw them. They also make a "barking" type noise. They are well known for their screeching type calls. They travel in bands of about 70-100 monkeys and are active mainly during the day. Spider monkeys do not like the water, but they can cope with it.

Spider Monkey

Jaguar (Panthera onca)

JaguarThe habitat is Central and South America and South West USA. It lives in the dense understory layer of tropical rain forest, swamps, and open country. The diet is grown animals like peccaries, capybara, sloth, tapir, deer, monkeys, cattle, fish, frogs, turtles and small gators. It's enemies are poachers (humans) which hunt it for its coat. Jaguars "almost" never attack people. However some have killed people. They sleep on branches. The jaguar has hooked claws for climbing and catching fish.
Jaguars are rarely seen in the rainforest, even by the people who live there. They are excellent climbers, but usually stalk their prey on the ground. They like to swim and spend a lot of time swimming. They are very fast and cover short distances very quickly. There are Black jaguars which are not common.
The jaguar is the 3rd largest cat. They reach their adult size at about age four. They give birth to 2-4 young and they are born blind. They can live up to 22 years.
Males can weigh up to 250 pounds. Females can weigh up to 150 pounds. They can be up to 73 inches in length, have a red nose, and very sharp teeth which can bite through caiman hide. The Jaguar's tail is about 6 feet long. It gives them standing balance. They are a very solitary animal. The jaguar is a water-loving cat and catches a considerable portion of its prey, like caimans and fish, there.

Called Balam and venerated by the ancient Maya, the now-protected large cat still lives in the lowland jungles of the region. Maya rulers were often named after the jaguar and wore their skins.


Margay (Felis wiedii)

Tiger The size og the Margay is about 60 cm (2 ft) with a 45 cm (18") tail. An adult weighs about 10 kg (20 lbs). It normally nests 1-2 cubs. It's habitat is mature forests where it lives solitary. The Margay prefers to eat Arboreal animals, birds, reptiles and insects.

Margays are probably the most nocturnal of all the cats of Central America. Known as the "tiger cat" in Belize and the southern part of Mexico, the Margay lives most of its life in the canopy of the tropical forests. This small cat is perfectly adapted for life in the trees - it is the only cat with ankle joints that can rotate sufficiently for it to climb headfirst down vertical trees.

Being an excellent climber, the margay feeds on arboreal prey such as rats, squirrels, opossums, monkeys and birds. The margay's eyes are very large and the eyeshine at night is extremely bright. Margays are very secretive, and prefer the more remote and dense sections of forests. Because of this, margays are rarely seen.

Margays do not adapt well to human disturbance of its habitat. This cat is listed as an endangered animal, though the status of its population throughout its range from Mexico to Argentina is unknown. Belize and the Chetemul Bay areas are thought to have one of the healthier populations of Margays in Central America.



Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata)

Howler MonkeyThe habitat is the Central and South American Rainforests. It lives in the canopy layer but also spends time on ground. It's diet is Fruits and nuts. It's enemies are jaguars, other large mammals, large snakes and humans.
There are many different species and subspecies. They are the noisiest animal in creation and they can be heard up to a mile away. The Howler is about 2-3 feet in length and weighs about 15 pounds. Males are usually larger than females. Their life span is about 20 years. Howler monkeys have a prehensile tail. Their colors can vary from reddish to brownish to blackish. They live in groups of 4 - 20 or more members depending on the species. Howlers are good swimmers. The female will give birth to one young. Twins are possible, but very rare. Howlers have excellent vision and can see up to one-half a mile. Howler monkeys love to irritate jaguars from high up in the canopy. They will sometimes throw sticks and branches at the jaguar below. The jaguar, meanwhile, is hoping that one of the howlers will slip and fall to the ground.

Howler Monkey

Central American Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii)

Central American Squirrel Monkey Squirrel monkeys belong to the family Cebidae. There are many different species of squirrel monkeys. They are one of the most common monkeys in South America. Males are normally larger than females and a typical Central American squirrel monkey male might be between 25 - 37 cm in length, have a tail between 37 - 46.5 cm, and weigh 0.6 - 1.1 kilograms. Spends most of its day in the canopy layer of the rainforest. Can live to about 15 years old.

Squirrel monkeys follow capuchins around to food sources. Many times they even play with the capuchins. Female Squirrel monkeys give birth to one young. They are very alert for predators. They are very agile and move about by leaping from branch to branch. Squirrel monkey travel in groups. A group of 30 is not unusual, and sometimes the group can be much larger. Young squirrel monkeys are very playful and energetic.

Squirrel Monkey


Ocelot (Felis pardalis)

OcelotThe habitat is the forest and bushlands from Texas USA to South America. They live in the understory layer of rainforest. It's diet is agoutis, pacas, peccaries, birds, rodents and small mammals. Males and females do not hunt together. It's enemies are poachers (humans).
Ocelots are 30-41 inches long and weigh 15-30 lbs. The ocelot is nocturnal. It has large eyes which allow it to see well in low light. They hunt in the forest trees and also on the ground. It is a very fast runner and excellent swimmer. They breed in any season and mate only at night. One or 2 kittens are born each year. They are blind at first with a lot of fur. Males and females live in pairs.



Puma (Felis concolor)

PumaThe habitat is parts of North, Central, and South America. They live in a variety of environments, from dry to wet. It's diet is deer, beavers, porcupines and monkeys. It's enemies are Poachers (humans), wolverines and grizzly bears.
The Puma is also known as cougar, mountain lion, and many more names. They fight with other pumas over territory. Pumas kill their prey by ambush and by breaking the neck of the prey. Rarely uses its claws to kill. Pumas leap more than 15 feet.
Pumas that are full grown are about 5 feet long, not including tail (tail is 2 to 3 feet long). Their fur is very soft and short. Adult Pumas are grayish,reddish or yellowish color. Pumas are the second largest cat in America. Their body is very muscular. They can jump up to six feet high while standing still. Puma cubs have spots. The babies are born blind. They are born in dens. There are 2-4 kittens in a litter.


Fruit Bat/Flying Fox

BatThe habitat is the rainforests. Often roost in caves (some roost in trees). Central America to Africa to Asia to Australia. It's diet is most fruits except citrus. It's enemies are humans and meat eating animals.
There are many different species of fruit bats. Some species of Fruit bats are also known as Flying foxes. They love to eat fruit and some actually sleep in fruit trees. Many have a dog-like face which closely resembles a foxes. Fruit Bats are multicolored. For the most part their eyesight is excellent, and they are not as dependent on echolocation as other species of bats. They have many teeth. They can have a wingspan of over three feet in length. Fruit Bats have four fingers, but the thumb is the only one that sticks out. They have an index finger to help grip and have two pairs of claws. Its arms are in the top of its wings. Their wings provide a warm blanket at night. Their wings are two very thin layers of skin. Fruit bats are important "seed dispersers" for many rainforest plants.

Fruit Bat


Armadillo The body length of an armadillo is 15-17 in. The tail is approx. 14-16 in. and it weighs approx.8-17 lbs.

The Nine-banded Armadillo is a cat-sized, armored, insect-eating mammal. Similar in form to an anteater, the bony, scaled shell of the armadillo protects it from attacks by predators. Unfortunately, armadillos often fall victim to automobiles and are frequently found dead on roadsides.

A prolific digger, armadillos dig many burrows, as well as dig for food. Distribution is often determined by soil conditions, since the animal will not survive in areas where the soil is too hard to dig. Many other wildlife species use and benefit from these abandoned burrows.

Although occasionally considered a nuisance by home owners, the armadillo's habit of digging up lawns is driven by its appetite for grubs, which can also harm lawns. It eats insects and other invertebrates. Skilled at digging for grubs. Occasionally eats berries and bird eggs.

Although breeding occurs in July, the embryo remains in a dormant state until November. Four young are born in a burrow in March. All four young, always of the same sex, are identical quadruplets and developed from the same egg. They even share a single placenta while in the womb. Armadillos are the only mammals in which multiple young form from a single egg with any regularity.
The Armadillo is widely distributed throughout Central and South America it is found also in the southern states of the U.S. and is the designated state mammal of Texas. The armadillo can be found throughout the Costa Maya area.


Northern Tamandua

Northern TamanduaThe Tamandua Mexicana is externally identical to the Southern Tamandua except that the Northern Tamandua is distinguished from it by characters of the skull. All individuals are black vested. Similar species are the monkeys, which have a short muzzle and Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), which have bushy tails and are much larger.

They are diurnal and nocturnal, arboreal, terrestrial and solitary. It feeds mainly on ants, termites, and bees extracted after ripping apart their nests with their fore claws. Tamanduas can be seen foraging on the ground or in the canopy anywhere in the forest, but seem most common beside watercourses and epiphyte-laden habitats, where their prey may be concentrated. By day in the rainforest a dense cloud of flies and mosquitoes accompanies them so they often brush their eyes with a forepaw. When inactive, tamanduas rest in hollow trees, burrows of other animals or other natural shelters.

Their local names are: Oso Hormiguero, Tamanduá, Susurete, Oso Amarillo, Brazo Fuerte, Oso Mielero in Spanish, it’s called an ant bear in Belize and in Mayan it is called Chab.

Tayra, Comadreja Grande

Tayra, Comadreja GrandeTayras are identified by their glossy, dark brown to black upper parts, legs, feet and tail. The fur on their heads is short and stiff, while the fur on the body and tail is long and glossy. Its under fur is brown. The head and neck sharply contrast with a grizzled tan on the back, which may be a gray-brown or yellowish color, but is rarely dark brown or the same. Their ears are small and round, the same color as the head, and not protruding above the crown. Their under parts are completely black or dark brown, except for a bright pale yellow to orange spot, often triangular, on their chest and throat. Their tail is bushy, and about two-thirds as long as their head and body. Partial webs that reach to the base of the last joint join their toes. Tayras are muscular large weasels, much like a small dog with long, slightly humped back and log tail. Young entirely black, sometimes with white throat patch and/or white head.

They are similar with bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), short-eared dogs (Atelocynus microtis) grisons (Galictis vittata) and jaguarundis (Herpailurus yaguarondi). Tayra’s sounds are snorts in alarm and growl and squeal when cornered. They are diurnal except near human habitations, where also crepuscular, terrestrial and arboreal. Feeds on small vertebrates, especially rodents, insects, fruit and honey. The available field data shows that they travel long distances of 2 to 8 kms. each day, within their enormous home ranges of 10-24 kms2. They are wary and not often seen, but are much commoner than any of the similar species. They are fond of papayas, and if undisturbed become tame when they raid fruit near houses. They inhabit mature and secondary rainforests, dry forests, gallery forests, cloud forests, and gardens and plantations. They live in Central and South America. One of the most common and widespread carnivores, tayras can live in disturbed habitats near man. Tayras are also called Bush dog in Belize, melero, papa-mel, comadreja, mama, umba, melero, tayra, zorro palmichera, tolomuco, tejón, manco, perro de monte, cabeza de mate, gato eira, comadreja grande, gato negro, cabeza de viejo and guache in Spanish, and sacol in Mayan.




PeccaryTheir uniformly grizzled gray-black upper parts, a faint but distinct collar or a stripe of pale yellow hairs, which extend from top to shoulder forward to the lower cheek, identifies Collared Peccary. Their mid-back from head to rump has a crest of long hairs, raised in excitement, and a large scent gland along the spine. Their hair is sparse; they have coarse bristles, banded black and white or yellow. Their head is large, sharply tapering from their large jowls to a narrow nose, their nostrils are in a naked, mobile disk small, protruding a little beyond the rostrum, and they have large canines, form distinct limps under lip, do not protrude.

Their eyes are small with a weak eye shine. They have reddish, small ears, covered with short hair. Their tail is tiny, or better said, not visible. Their forefeet have two large toes and two smaller rear toes that do not touch the ground (so they don’t appear in tracks), while their hind feet have two large toes and one smaller toe. Their young are grizzled reddish brown. They are pig-like, with a stout body, a thick neck and thin, delicate legs. The Collared Peccary is similar to the white-lipped peccary (T. pecary), Chacoan peccaries (Catagonus wagneri) Capybaras (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris).

Their sound is usually quiet, but if surprised at close range may give very loud doglike barks, “Whoof” while in flight. They may also clack their teeth sharply. Their grunts (perhaps threats) are rarely heard.

They chew on nuts and snails with a loud cracking. Collared peccary are diurnal in the rainforest; they are terrestrial, and form groups of 1 to 20 members, usually 6 to 9. Loose groups often change in composition: males are sometimes solitary. In rainforests they feed on fruit, palm nuts, browse, snails, other invertebrates, and small vertebrates.

They release a strong odor, like cheese or chicken soup, especially when alarmed, and they frequently mark their trails by scraping the ground in front of a pole with their hooves, defecating in the scrape, and rubbing their back gland on the pole. They regularly use mud wallows and salt licks in favored, traditional spots. Collared peccaries are wary and surprisingly quiet and difficult to approach; they stampede in panic when they detect humans, and they are not dangerous (but those raised in captivity or habituated to man may be very aggressive, and inflict serious bite wounds).

They are found in different habitats: from dry, shrubby Sonora desert and chaco to deep rainforest. Note that their behavior is different in hot, dry habitats, where peccaries feed on cacti, and where they are active at night. In this habitat they do not use burrows. They live in Central and South America. They are widespread and locally common, but hunted intensively for meat, sport, and hides. Collared peccaries are rare or absent near many settlements but not threatened, in general.

Anteater, Oso hormiguero (Tamandua mexicana)

AnteaterThe Anteater is an insect-eating mammal found in Mexico (including the Costa Maya), Central America, and South America. It has a long head with a long, tubular mouth and long tongue, but no teeth. The giant anteater, weighing up to 86 lbs., is the largest species of anteater. It lives in forests and swampy areas and on open plains and is active mostly during the day in areas where there are few people, and is night dwelling in densely populated areas.

The coarse coat is gray, with a white-bordered black stripe on each shoulder, and the tail is long and bushy. The front claws, used to tear open termite mounds and for defense, are so long that they are tucked under, and the animal walks on its knuckles. The long sticky tongue flicks quickly in and out of the small mouth opening, scooping up termites or other insects.The pygmy anteater is the smallest species of anteater, ranging from 13 to 20 inches. It is covered with golden-brown fur. Its jaws curve to form a short tube, and it eats termites and other insects. Living mainly in the trees, it has a prehensile tail (which means that the tail can be used as a hand in grasping branches. The two species of lesser anteaters are the size of a large domestic cat and have short, coarse, tan to blackish hair, usually with a black band around body and neck. They also live in trees but frequently come down to the ground. Both the pygmy and the lesser anteaters are mostly nocturnal and walk on the sides of their front feet because of the length of their claws. All three species are characterized by solitary habits and a low reproductive rate. The female carries the single young on her back during its growth; in the case of the giant anteater, this can last almost one year. Other, unrelated mammals called anteaters are the aardvark, echidna, pangolin, and numbat, or banded anteater, a marsupial.

Anteater soundAnteater video

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