It is imperative that anyone considering purchasing a kinkajou, or honey bear, knows how to take care of them properly first. A honey bear is not a naturally domesticated animal, but an exotic jungle species. The trade in honey bears is illegal but it is possible to buy them from licensed breeders who have bred them domestically from animals saved from captivity. Most likely such a honey bear will have been bottle fed. Always check that your state allows honey bears to be kept as pets, and that a veterinarian who knows how to care for them is within the vicinity.
The nature and natural habits of the animal will be essentially the same though. Honey bears are nocturnal creatures who do not appreciate being disturbed during the day, when they like to sleep. One of the reasons they prefer to sleep in the daytime is that they don’t like the sunlight, so you need to be able to provide a dark environment for them to sleep in. In the jungle they like to sleep high in tree nooks which you can replicate by providing high branches and a wooden sleeping box, in a well shaded area. They are arboreal creatures so don’t expect them to want a bed on the ground. They are also used to a certain temperature and this should be maintained at between 75F and 85F, with outdoor heating provided if you build an outdoor enclosure for them.
Honey bears are not naturally house proud and apparently it is not easy to toilet train them, so they probably aren’t the best pet to keep inside your own home. They prefer to climb high to deal with their toilet matters, regardless of where it falls, though they do tend to use the same places. It is essential that you keep an eye on their water supplies though so they don’t become contaminated this way. Another reason why it is best to provide an outdoor environment for them is they really don’t care about your surroundings and can be rather destructive as they play with your possessions, particularly when they are roaming at night.
You can’t expect a nocturnal animal to be nice and quiet whilst you get your sleep. If they are kept within your home they will be noisy during the night, lively and messy. It really is better to prepare them an outside enclosure, very spacious and high, but don’t confine them to it all the time. Pack it with fun things to engage their interest, they love to swing upside down from their tails and like to have crevices, branches and ledges.
You need to be careful with their diet and feed them the right kind of foods, which will be primarily fruits, honey and monkey chow. Don’t feed them with strawberries, citrus fruits or dairy products. They thrive particularly well on figs, and enjoy grapes, bananas, mangoes, and many other exotic fruits. Research well the kinds of fruits they thrive best on and take advice from breeders and sanctuaries on their care. Always ensure they have a good supply of clean drinking water, but try to fix something up they can drink from, as otherwise they are likely to knock their water over.
As long as you care for your honey bear properly, provide the type of outdoor environment it needs, the right food, and let it dictate its own sleep patterns, you will be rewarded with an affectionate and playful pet who you can bring inside your home to play with.