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Meet Ryuk: Owners say white-nosed coati found roaming in Raleigh loves to give kisses, bear hugs

Published on: 02/16/2022

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Published: 2022-02-15 19:02:00

Updated: 2022-02-16 21:47:40

Meet Ryuk: Owners say white-nosed coati found roaming in Raleigh loves to give kisses, bear hugs

Posted February 15, 2022 7:02 p.m. EST

Updated February 16, 2022 9:47 p.m. EST

[Raleigh, N.C.](/news-near-me/13696752/?map_asset_id=20140871) — The mystery of who owns the exotic raccoon-like animal that got loose in Raleigh has been solved.

Kailey Duke and Camden Willis said they're the proud owners of Ryuk, a white-nosed coati that was found found off New Bern Avenue on Tuesday. Ryuk's owners said he is three-and-a-half-years-old and they've had him since he was five weeks old.

"He loves to give kisses and bear hugs," said Duke.

"We have dogs and they actually get along and play together," said Willis.

Duke said she picked up Ryuk from Avian and Exotic Animal Care, the Raleigh veterinary hospital that took care of her pet overnight, on Wednesday morning. Duke said Ryuk has an enclosure outside lots of stuff to climb on.

Duke said she was horrified when she realized her beloved pet had gotten loose.

"Where is here? What do we do? Why is he out? Just absolute panic," Dukes said about realizing Ryuk had escaped.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute said coatis are in the raccoon family. The small mammals have "strong claws and long, highly mobile snouts" along with a "thick, semi-prehensile tail" used for balance.

Tara Harrison, an associate professor at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said coatis are active animals that love to climb.

"They can be unpredictable, and they can climb anywhere in your house — curtains, books or anything," said Harrison.

Coatis are found in North, Central and South America, according to the Smithsonian. But in the U.S. the coati is mainly found in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. According to National Geographic, coatis eat insects, fruit, rodents, lizards and small snakes.

The animal can be found in a variety of habitats including dry, open forests and tropical woodlands.

Currently, coatis are legal to own in North Carolina. But, Harrison said coatis can cause injuries or be aggressive.

"Just like any animal if it's cornered, they could be aggressive. They're not used to being pets," said Harrison. "Biting, jumping, using claws — all of those things are something that could cause an injury in a person."

"So there are certainly people who own coatis. I would not own a coati," added Harrison.

Ryuk’s appearance comes as city leaders in Raleigh determine what wild animals residents can own after a venomous zebra cobra escaped a Raleigh neighborhood last summer and in Orange County where a pack of wolfdogs escaped their enclosure.

"Raleigh is working on potentially have some incrased rules on what's allowed [and] what's not allowed, and varios other cities, towns, counties in the state have taken it upon themselves to say, OK, this is what's actually allowed," said Harrison.

But Ryuk's owner says he and Kuma, another coati they own, are in good hands.

"This guy has the most pampered life ... [he] gives kisses and hugs all over you," said Willis.

Those who would like to see coatis can visit Animals Ed.Venture Sanctuary in Coats or the Greensboro Science Center.

"They have a very interesting little face — it's long," said Willis.

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