The coatis (Procyonidae) and some species of mongooses (Herpestidae) are diurnal, small to medium-sized carnivores that live in groups and feed opportunistically on small animals and fruits. A comparison of selected features is here presented for two coati species (Nasua narica and N. nasua) and the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo). The former two dwell in the Neotropical region, whereas the latter occurs in the Ethiopian realm. Both the coatis and the mongoose are apt to live near human settlements and capitalise on food refuse. Additionally, coatis and mongooses habituate to humans, and sometimes are a nuisance. These habits, plus their almost constant quest for food, lead these carnivores to meet other mammal types at feeders and garbage dumps and associate with these animals. White-nosed coatis associate with the Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and pick ticks on its body, whereas the banded mongoose does so with the common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus). These seem to be the two sole recorded instances of mammals cleaning non-conspecific mammals, and illustrate a remarkable case of convergence.
opportunistic behaviour; cleaning symbiosis; convergence; Procyonidae; Herpestidae