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Bassariscus astutus


The ringtail is buff to dark brown in color with white underparts and a flashy black and white striped tail that has 14-16 white and black stripes, which is longer than the rest of its body. The claws are short, straight, and semi-retractable. The eyes are large and purple, each surrounded by a patch of light fur. It is smaller than a housecat, measuring 30–42 cm long with a tail of 31–44 cm and weighing 0.8–1.5 kg. Ringtails have occasionally been hunted for their pelts, but the fur is not especially valuable. The ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family (thus not actually a cat), native to arid regions of North America.


It is found in rocky, desert as its habitat, where it nests in the hollows of trees or abandoned wooden structures.


This specimen was spotted in the Chiricahua Mountains. It was a young animal and was quite curious. Also known as "ring-tailed cat," "miner's cat," and "cacomistle."

No species ID suggestions


Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 6 years ago

Amazing.. Goody.. I do not wonder if this is featured.. Excellent job..!!

Daacwen 6 years ago


p.young713 6 years ago

Wow, you sound like an adventurer!! This is a very interesting animal. Great photo, I will have to look at the snake photos!

Aaron_G 6 years ago

Yes, they live in the shadows. :-) We were road cruising for snakes in the Chiricahua mountains and happened upon this little guy. It was a super night for new species for me. I picked up 3 rattlesnakes for my life list and the ringtail was an amazing bonus. There had been a rabies warning posted at the campground so my friend had to remind me of that so I didn't try to get too close.

p.young713 6 years ago

Are they nocturnal animals?

Aaron_G 6 years ago

This one was young and curious, but other things I read say they're solitary and shy. Looks like they eat pretty much anything they come across: fruits, lizards, small mammals, birds, etc. They're also food for larger predators.

Aaron_G 6 years ago

Thank you. No, they're actually related to the raccoons. I will add that tidbit to the description. I should have done that initially. Oops!

p.young713 6 years ago

I just saw the link, its a raccoon type animal? What do they eat? Are they friendly?

p.young713 6 years ago

This is awesome! I have never seen a cat like this. Great photo!! It is in the feline family??

ChristyHolland 6 years ago

Wonderful spotting!! Great cute!!

Aaron_G 6 years ago

Agreed! :-)

Maria dB
Maria dB 6 years ago

I'm sure the fur is valuable to the cacomistle! :)

KarenL 6 years ago

Such huge eyes! Really beautiful!

Arizona, USA

Lat: 34.29, Long: -111.66

Spotted on Aug 5, 2003
Submitted on Feb 14, 2012

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