Potto (cercoleptes, Illig.), a genus of small carnivorous mammals, inhabiting tropical America. They resemble the bears in their plantigrade movements, and in their dentition, but differ in other characters; they seem to form the connecting link between the quadrumana and the plantigrade carnivora. The molars are (5-5)/(5-5), small, the anterior two conical, and the others tuberculate with flat crowns, canines short and blunt; muzzle short and rounded; the eyes large; the tongue slender, long, and extensile; tail long, hairy, and prehensile; feet plantigrade, but the five toes are separate, capable of independent motion, and provided with sharp claws; legs short; fur woolly. The common potto, sometimes called kinkajou (C. caudivolvulus, Illig.), is about the size of a cat, but more slender, of a general yellowish brown, sometimes reddish brown; in form and habits it resembles the lemurs, is nocturnal and an excellent climber, and uses the fore paws to convey food to the mouth; it is omnivorous, feeding on fruits, honey, insects, eggs, and small birds and mammals, like other plantigrades; it is fond of plundering the nests of wild bees, obtaining the honey by means of its long flexible tongue, whence it has received the name of honey bear; it is a native of Guiana, Colombia, Peru, and some of the West India islands.
Being gentle and playful, it is often tamed as a pet, and is not uncommon in menageries. - Potto is also the native name of an African lemur. (See Lori).
Common Potto (Cercoleptes caudivolvulus).