Kids' Page: Ringtail cat

June, 2016

 Did you know a ringtail cat isn’t really a cat?

Ringtail cats are in the raccoon family—they aren’t cats at all. Ringtail cats get their name from the markings on their fur. They are small mammals, only measuring 12 inches from their nose to the base of their tail, and only weigh about two to three pounds. Their tail is 14-17 inches long with black and white alternating bands—a ringtail. They have large ears and a pointy muzzle with big black eyes.

Ringtail cats can be found from southern Oregon to Southern Mexico, including Texas and Louisiana. They live in forests, canyons, and semi-arid rocky areas and den in cliffs, rock crevices, and tree hallows.  They have very sharp claws, which help them climb very steep cliffs to get to their den. Ringtails only spend a few nights in a den before they move on to the next one. Ringtails are nocturnal and live alone except during breeding season. The male brings the female food while she is pregnant.  A pair of ringtails have two to four cubs a year.

Ringtails eat a variety of foods such as fruit, birds, nuts, fish, mice, and insects. Their predators include great horned owls, coyotes, raccoons and bobcats.

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