A few minutes after checking into the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, we went for a sunset walk on a gentle tree-lined path that winds the length of the Iguazu Falls.
Moments after we started, we stumbled upon this exotic animal. It’s a Coatimundri (commonly called Coaties and pronounced “Qwaties” by the locals). Jamie described this lone creature as “looking like a cross between a raccoon and an ant eater.”
He was a bit hesitant. After shyly approaching two other hikers he slipped down over the edge of the precipice, and into the dark green overgrowth, never to be seen again.
So our assumption was that he was representative of his breed and that they were meek little creatures, afraid of man, and very hesitant to interact with us. Then we went for a visit to Argentinian National Park directly across the river on the Argentinian side.
Let me say right here and now that the shy Brazilian species cannot possibly be related to the aggressive Argentinian species. These little monsters hunt in packs and will steal any food that is not nailed down. If confronted by some unsuspecting human who actually remembers purchasing the food at the convenience market down the road and still has the receipts to prove it, these packs of coatis will rise up in anger and point out discrepancies in the human’s clearly forged receipts, and demand that that greedy human take his big meaty mitts off those muffins or he will come to the same bloody end as so many tourists before him.
No matter how many signs they put up in the park, no matter how many times park Rangers saved visitors from maurading mobs of coatimundis, they always seem to revert to saying, “Aaaaaaw. They’re so cute. I’m going to pet this one.”
And this is he result.
Monkeys & Coaties.
They can bite you,
Scratch, and steal things.
For your safety
and theirs don’t
It is, we’re sure you’ll agree, a dandy safety sign. One designed to keep all visitors alert and on guard at all times. However, if we had been making the sign, we may have added a section about using the monkeys and coaties using their razor sharp teeth and claws to slash you open and then squealing with glee as they watch the EMTs cart you away for emergency medical care at a third rate jungle emergency room.
Other than that, the sign seems to be an excellent waning system designed to keep all visitors safe as safe can be.