Ring-tailed Cat


Ring-tailed Cat

Taxobox
name = Ringtail
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3


image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
familia = Procyonidae
genus = "Bassariscus"
species = "B. astutus"
binomial = "Bassariscus astutus"
binomial_authority = (Lichtenstein, 1830)
subdivision_ranks = Subspecies
subdivision =
*"Bassariscus a. arizonensis"
*"Bassariscus a. flavus"
*"Bassariscus a. yumanensis"
*"Bassariscus a. nevadensis"
The ringtail ("Bassariscus astutus") is a mammal of the raccoon family, native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat or miner's cat, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a "civet cat" (similar, though unrelated, cat-like omnivores of Asia and Africa). The ringtail is sometimes called a cacomistle, though this term seems to be more often used to refer to "Bassariscus sumichrasti" (also known as "Jentinkia sumichrasti").

Physical description

The ringtail is buff to dark brown in color with white underparts and a flashy black and white striped tail which is longer than the rest of its body. 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.

Range and habitat

The ringtail is found throughout California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah and parts of northern Mexico. It is found in rocky, forested habitat, where it nests in the hollows of trees or abandoned wooden structures. The ringtail is the state mammal of Arizona.

Agility

The ankle joint is flexible and able to rotate over 180 degrees, a trait helping make it an agile climber. Their considerable tail provides balance for negotiating narrow ledges and limbs, even allowing them to reverse directions by performing a cartwheel. Ringtails also can ascend narrow passages by stemming (pressing all feet on one wall and their back against the other or pressing both right feet on one wall and both left feet on the other), and wider cracks or openings by ricocheting between the walls. [desertusa.com [http://www.desertusa.com/mag01/mar/papr/ringt.html] ; Accessed 2/28/07]

Habits

It is nocturnal, solitary, timid, and rarely seen. It is omnivorous, eating fruits, berries, insects, lizards, small rodents, and birds. Owls, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and bobcats will prey upon ringtails. These small carnivorans produce a variety of sounds, including clicks and chatters reminiscent of raccoons. A typical call is a very loud, plaintive bark. As adults, these mammals lead solitary lives, generally coming together only to mate.

Reproduction

Ringtails mate in the spring. The gestation period is 45-50 days, during which the male will procure food for the female. There will be 2-4 cubs in a litter. The cubs open their eyes after a month, and will hunt for themselves after four months. They reach sexual maturity at ten months. The ringtail's lifespan in the wild is about seven years. [lioncrusher.com [http://www.lioncrusher.com/animal.asp?animal=84] ; Accessed 3/6/07]

Domestication

The ringtail is said to be easily tamed, and can make an affectionate pet and effective mouser. Miners and settlers once kept pet ringtails to keep their cabins free of vermin; hence, the common name of "miner's cat" (though in fact the ringtail is no more cat than it is civet). Often a hole was cut in a small box and placed near a heat source (perhaps a stove) as a dark, warm place for the animal to sleep during the day, coming out after dark to rid the cabin of mice.

References


*
* Nowak, Ronald M. (2005). "Walker's Carnivores of the World". Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-8032-7


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ring-tailed cat — Ring tailed Ring tailed , a. (Zo[ o]l.) Having the tail crossed by conspicuous bands of color. [1913 Webster] {Ring tailed cat} (Zo[ o]l.), the cacomixle. {Ring tailed eagle} (Zo[ o]l.), a young golden eagle. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ring-tailed cat — noun raccoon like omnivorous mammal of Mexico and the southwestern United States having a long bushy tail with black and white rings • Syn: ↑bassarisk, ↑cacomistle, ↑cacomixle, ↑coon cat, ↑raccoon fox, ↑ringtail, ↑civet cat, ↑miner s cat, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • ring-tailed cat — Pietų Amerikos basariskas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Bassariscus astutus angl. cacomistle; North American cacomistle; ringtail; ring tailed cat vok. nordamerikanisches Katzenfrett rus.… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • ring-tailed cat — noun a raccoon like mammal with a dark ringed tail, found in North America. [Bassariscus astutus.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • Ring-tailed — a. (Zo[ o]l.) Having the tail crossed by conspicuous bands of color. [1913 Webster] {Ring tailed cat} (Zo[ o]l.), the cacomixle. {Ring tailed eagle} (Zo[ o]l.), a young golden eagle. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ring-tailed eagle — Ring tailed Ring tailed , a. (Zo[ o]l.) Having the tail crossed by conspicuous bands of color. [1913 Webster] {Ring tailed cat} (Zo[ o]l.), the cacomixle. {Ring tailed eagle} (Zo[ o]l.), a young golden eagle. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ring-tailed Lemur — Taxobox name = Ring tailed LemurMSW3 Groves|pages=117|id=12100056] status = NT trend = down status system = iucn3.1 status ref = regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Primates familia = Lemuridae genus = Lemur genus… …   Wikipedia

  • ring-tailed lemur — noun small lemur having its tail barred with black • Syn: ↑Madagascar cat, ↑Lemur catta • Hypernyms: ↑lemur • Member Holonyms: ↑genus Lemur …   Useful english dictionary

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