It’s likely that most people got their first introduction to kinkajous – furry, nocturnal creatures who generally hail from the rainforest – when tabloid queen Paris Hilton adopted and was bitten by her kinkajou, who is actually illegal in the state of California.

Regardless of the reputation that the kinkajou may have acquired from its association with Hilton, some swear that kinkajous are an ideal pet, in those states in which they are legal. But before you begin your quest to find your own pet kinkajou, make sure you know what that new member of your family is going to want and need from you.

Because they are curious and playful by nature, kinkajous are often considered the ideal pet. They’re also relatively small, often weighing no more than eight pounds.

“The Kinkajou Personality”

Kinkajous generally have a lifespan of between 20 and 25 years, with the oldest known kinkajous living more than 40 years. But what is life with a kinkajou really like?

Kinkajous are playful characters that can become quite tame if they are raised by humans from a very early age. But, they’re also often very messy creatures, fond of throwing their food and eliminating wherever they happen to be. Unfortunately, unlike some pets, kinkajous cannot be litter trained, although those with kinkajous claim they do often pick a favorite spot as their toilet. So be prepared to clean up after your kinkajou when he’s out playing around the house.

“Kinkajou Sounds”

Kinkajous, by no means, are silent creatures. Hungry? Stressed that you’re going to take their food? Expect plenty of shrieking. (Kinkajous are known for being territorial over their food.) Other common sounds made by the kinkajou include barking, whistling, chirping, and huffing.

“The Kinkajou Diet”

A kinkajou’s diet mainly comprises fruit, and most are particularly fond of grapes, pineapple, bananas, figs, mangos, and melons.

As with other animals, you should never give a kinkajou chocolate or caffeine. Also avoid giving a kinkajou strawberries or dairy products. If you’re uncertain of exactly what to feed your kinkajou, contact your local exotic veterinarian or zoo.

“The Kinkajou Kingdom”

Kinkajous need a safe place to live when they’re not out and about in your home or apartment. Your kinkajou needs as big a cage or enclosure as possible. You want him to have plenty of room to relax, to stretch his legs, and to move around. Be sure your kinkajou has someplace warm and comfortable to sleep by purchasing a hammock and hanging it in his cage. Additionally, your kinkajou will want someplace to hide and to nest. Often the ideal solution is a plastic box that can be put anywhere in the cage.

Your kinkajou’s home will also need a food bowl. Those who have kinkajous recommend using something so sturdy that your kinkajou won’t be able to tip the bowl over and make a mess. Likewise, it’s better to use a water bottle rather than a water bowl, unless you want to clean up spills all of the time.