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Ringtail

Bassariscus astutus

Description:

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.

Habitat:

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

Notes:

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

13 Comments

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 2 years ago

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

Daacwen
Daacwen 2 years ago

Whaoooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.young713
p.young713 2 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
Aaron_G 2 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
p.young713 2 years ago

Are they nocturnal animals?

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 2 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
Aaron_G 2 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
p.young713 2 years ago

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

p.young713
p.young713 2 years ago

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

ChristyHolland
ChristyHolland 2 years ago

Wonderful spotting!! Great photo...so cute!!

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 2 years ago

Agreed! :-)

Maria dB
Maria dB 2 years ago

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

KarenL
KarenL 2 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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