Olinguito named as new species

A new species of animal, the woolly-furred olinguito, has been named as a new species after being wrongly identified for more than 100 years. It lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the Smithsonian Institute announced today.

Olinguito: Facts about the world's newest species

The world's newest species, the olinguito, is the smallest member of the raccoon family and has thick, woolly fur, according to the Smithsonian Institute.

The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador.
The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. Credit: I. Poglayen-Neuwall/Smithsonian Institute

Here are some more facts about the olinguito:

Diet: The animal mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.

Behaviour: Olinguitos are solitary animals that live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. It is an adept jumper that can leap from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Mothers raise a single baby at a time.

Habitat: It is found only in cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains.

Range: They live in Ecuador and Colombia around 5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level.

Olinguito first New World carnivore identified in 35 years

The newly-named olinguito has become the first New World carnivore to be identified in 35 years.

For more than a century the olinguito, also known as Bassaricyon neblina, was mistaken for its larger close cousin the olingo.

The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador.
The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. Credit: Mark Gurney/Smithsonion Institute/PA Wire

But following a 10 year research project examining the skull, teeth and skin of museum specimens and tracking the animals in the wild, scientists at the Smithsonian Institute confirmed it is a different species.

Read: Woolly-furred olinguito named a new species

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Woolly-furred olinguito named as new species

An animal that resembles "a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear" has been named as a new species after being wrongly identified for more than 100 years.

The Smithsonian Institute released this picture of the Olinguito.
The Smithsonian Institute released this picture of the Olinguito. Credit: Mark Gurney/Smithsonion Institute/PA Wire

The woolly-furred olinguito, which weighs 2lb (0.9kg), is related to raccoons and coatis and lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the Smithsonian Institute announced today.