The Ringtail is a small mammal belonging to the raccoon family native to North America. About the size of a domestic cat, it looks like a small fox, with a tail like a raccoon. What a mix, right? However, all of this makes our friend an excellent climber. In fact, the long tail used for balance along with rotatable back feet is just another additional plus!


Where can we find the ringtail?

Widespread across southern North America, our friend is also found in Mexico. Moreover, it occurs in desert areas and islands of California. Finally, the range extends all the way to Texas. However, when it comes to habitats, this animal is highly adaptable. Therefore, it is able to live in a variety of forests, rocky areas, canyons, and deserts. Also well adapted to distributed areas, the ringtail is often found inside buildings as well.


How does the ringtail look?

Well, as mentioned in the beginning, quite interesting. Thus, having a pointed muzzle with long whiskers, our friend resembles a fox. In fact, the ringtail’s Latin name means ‘clever little fox’. However, the most noticeable is the long black and white tail with 14 to 16 stripes. Finally, large eyes and upright ears make it easier for navigating in the dark. Both the body and the tail are the same size, from 12 to 17 inches, while the weight varies from 1,5 to 3,3 pounds.


As an omnivore, the ringtail enjoys a variety of foods in its diet. However, most of the diet is made up of animal matter. Thus, insects and small mammals such as rabbits, rats, and squirrels are some examples of its carnivore tendencies. Yet, sometimes it will eat fish, lizards, birds, snakes, and carrion. Finally, our friend also enjoys juniper, hack and blackberries, persimmon, prickly pear, and fruit in general.


Ringtails mate in spring, usually from February to May. Thus, after a gestation of 51 to 54 days, 1 to 4 babies are born. Helpless at birth, young are born inside a den, and they open their eyes after a month. Moreover, they are weaned at eight to ten weeks, beginning to hunt with their mother at about two months old. Fathers sometimes play with their young as they get older.

Did you know the ringtail can survive in hot, arid regions with very little drinking water?

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