Of the animal called bivana (kinkajou or cercoleptes caudivolvulus).

Translated by Kristine (Kasey) Drake ’23

In Book XXIV, Chapter VIII, I will mention three highly unusual animals connected to the topic I will address there; one of those is a water animal and the other two are of the land, and of these the smelly skunk has already been discussed in chapter XVII. I would now like to discuss briefly the third, called bivana, because this book is primarily concerned with its type of animal. In the province of Paria and in other parts of the Mainland there is an animal called bivana. It is small and good looking, the size of one of those domestic cats from Castile, with short legs and arms and more pleasing to the eye and not fierce; the head is small and the snout narrow and black; the ears are raised and conspicuous; the eyes are black and the tail longer and thicker than that of a cat, bushy, round and even all the way to its tip. The hands and feet each have five short fingers, and the claws are black like those of a bird, but not sharp or for hunting, but better suited for digging. The thing to watch and to study about this animal is that its hair runs in the opposite direction from all the other fur animals I have seen, because when running one’s hand over it from head to tail it raises the hair, and doing the same from the tip of its tail to the snout flattens the hair (Lam. 5a; Fig. 5a.). It has the shape of a small wolf, but it is a more attractive animal and seems to be somewhat more desirable; Its color is like those stains that unkempt women get when a fire burns the fur on their zamarras or sheepskins, between bright red and yellow or like the color of a lion. This animal’s fur is very fine, full and soft like carded wool or silk; but on its back the color fades to brown, and the rest is the color I said before. It sleeps all day without waking, and if one forgets to feed it, it stays up all night and does not stop roaming around looking for something to eat, whistling in a low tone. The Indians from the coast of the pearls they call Paria call this animal the bivana. Though it can see during the day, it hides from the light and enjoys the darkness. And because I enjoy lingering when I come upon something a good author has written that resembles what I write, I will say briefly that Pliny,[1] when writing of the different manners of goats, mentions one he called orige, also called camoze or soh. He says that these have fur running against the head or in reverse, which is the same as I have said about the animal called bivana.

[1] Pliny, Book VIII, Chapter 61.