Kasey Drake ’23: Book XII, Chapter XXXIX (Of the Animal Called Cozumatle)

Book XII, Chapter XXXIX

Of the animal called cozumatle.[1]

Translated by Kristine (Kasey) Drake ’23

Cozumatle is the name of an animal in the language of Nicaragua and New Spain. It is about the size of Spanish house cats; its fur is like that of a Galician marten, turning red around its stomach. Its heels are where the fold of the knee would be and its feet are long; it has strong but not dangerous claws; its head is very narrow, with a long snout and many thick teeth. They are found in many parts of the Mainland, and they have a long, thick tail like a cat, but longer than that of a cat, and one section is the color of the hair on its back and the other part the color of the stomach, and it is a good-looking animal. It is a very tame animal when not angry, because when angered, especially over food, it has a fierce bite; it is a very happy animal and very playful with the people it knows. I brought one of them to Madrid, in the year 1547, and I gave it to an Asturian gentleman who is a relative of mine.

[1] Identified by some sources as the pizote, coatimundi, or white-nosed coati (Nasua narica). [Editor’s note. English translation].

Image: Engraving of coati by John Gabriel Stedman in 1793, retrieved from the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.