If I asked you to picture of a carnivore in your head,
you might conjure up an image of a powerful lion or a lone wolf.
所有食肉动物都属于哺乳类 按顺序的话 它们在某些方面是有共同之处的
All carnivores that is mammals in the order carnivora have some things in common.
你一般知道 它们狩猎 而且用锋利的爪子
You know mostly that they hunt and eat meat
using their sharp claws and specialized teeth.
But there’s one carnivore that breaks all the biological rules.
Kinkajous are found in the tropical rain forests of
of southern Mexico and south America.
They spend their days high in trees and
they’ve evolved some pretty nifty adaptations to this arboreal lifestyle.
Almost everything about these furry tree dwellers
would make you think they’re a primate.
But they’re actually carnivores in the family procyonidae
因此浣熊 长鼻浣熊 犬浣熊和圈尾猫是它们的近亲
which makes things like raccoons, coatis, lingos and ringtails, their closest relatives.
Scientists think that
kinkajous evolved as an early offshoot of this group about 22.6 million years ago.
And they’ve kept some of their carnivorous traits.
But pretty much, everything else about them isn’t what you’d expect.
Instead of using their sharp claws to hunt down prey, like bears or cats do,
they use them for gripping tree branches.
Kinkajous also have a muscle called the flexor brevis digitorum manus
that runs from the pinky finger to the wrist,
meaning they can sort of pseudo-oppose their digits and get an even better grip.
But since the kinkajous’s favorite pastime is snacking,
most of the time, they need their hands for picking ripe fruit.
That’s where their prehensile or grasping tails come in.
There’s only one other carnivore with a prehensile tail,
making the kinkajou pretty special indeed.
Maybe the creepiest adaptation they have though
is their ability to rotate their hind feet to face backwards
that allows them to hang upside down with their heads facing forward.
Don’t try that on the jungle gym.
All these abilities give kinkajous access to the treetops for food,
giving them an advantage over their less flexible friends.
And when it comes to food, kinkajous don’t actually eat very much meat.
Pretty strange for a carnivore, right?
Their diet is about 90 percent fruit and 10 percent leaves, flowers and honey
with a few answer termites thrown in for good measure.
And remember how we said kinkajou still have some of their carnivorous features?
One of those is their canine teeth,
which are much better at tearing meat than eating fruit.
And that makes the kinkajou a pretty messy eater.
But that’s not so bad because that means unknowingly acting as a seed disperser.
They basically eat with the efficiency of a toddler
spreading seeds all over the forest floor.
Kinkajous can also act as pollinators,
as they get dusted with pollen, as they stick their heads
and long sticky tongues into flowers to sip up nectar.
Of the hundreds of thousands of species of pollinators known by scientists,
only about a tenth of a percent are mammals and most of those are bats.
Very few non-flying mammals and even fewer carnivores help plants swap pollen.
Although scientists aren’t sure how much kinkajous help
with pollinating compared to insects or other mammals.
They do know that they help out with some plants,
比如 肉豆蔻 像槌柱兰或紫色金星果
such as the Nutmeg, like Malleola or the purple Star Apple.
And their teeth aren’t the only evolutionary hang over kinkajous have.
They also have carnivore-like guts that
gives them the flexibility to eat a range of different foods.
那意味着 只需要大约2个半小时 就能让那些
And it means that it only takes them around two and a half hours
to turn that juicy, plump fruit into a little pile of kinkajou poop.
当你将它和其他食草动物 比如奶牛 相比时
Pretty darn fast when you compare it to other animals
that eat a lot of plants, like cows.
They need to ferment their food to get the nutrients out.
A process that can take one to three days.
Because the kinkajous are so quick to evacuate their stomachs.
They aren’t that efficient at taking in nutrients from their food.
They make up for it, though, by having a slow metabolism.
So they don’t need as much fuel as similarly sized carnivores.
Now, you might be thinking dull, these fruit eating fluff balls are so cute.
You may have even seen Paris Hilton in the 90s,
slinking around with one around her shoulders.
But it’s not a great idea to have these little guys as pets.
They need a large area to exercise and are awake and
want to play when you’re trying to sleep.
They have a super specialized diet and can transmit some pretty nasty infections,
not to mention those sharp claws and teeth.
They can still shred flesh, even if they’re usually used to rip apart fruit.
So, let’s just leave these curious carnivores in the rainforests, shall we?
That would be great.
Thanks for watching this episode of Scishow.
If you like weird animals, you might like our episode on
why echidnas are evolutionary misfits.
来认识下全世界最糟糕的食肉动物 - 蜜熊