Ring-Tailed Cat

What is a Ring-Tailed Cat?

  • A ring-tailed cat, often referred to as just a ringtail, is a member of the raccoon family. Its appearance resembles a cross somewhere between a fox (angular muzzle), a cat (its slender body) and a lemur or raccoon’s striped tail. They can grow up to two feet long, including their tails, and only weigh a few pounds.
  • Like their raccoon relatives, ringtails are nocturnal. The ringtail’s long tail helps them balance when climbing to look for food. 
  • Ringtails are also known as miner’s cats because miners and early settlers used to have ringtails to keep rodents out of their cabins. They are effective at rodent removal, but unfortunately come with trouble of their own.

Where Do Ring-Tailed Cats Live?

  • Ring-tailed cats are primarily found in the southwestern region of North America, including mid-United States and as far east as Texas and south through the majority of Mexico. Ringtails prefer rocky regions with running water, like canyons and caves.
  • Ringtails’ homes are called dens and like raccoons, they seek out shelter in hollowed trees and crevices of rocks. These nuisance mammals also make their way into attics.

Do Ringtails Get Into Houses?

  • Though they’re not related to cats, they do have something in common with the felines: curiosity. Their curiosity will lead them inside homes, especially as the weather gets cooler.

Ringtail Damage to Homes

  • Much like their raccoon relatives, ringtails in the attic are bad news. Their nocturnal behavior may be disturbing to your sleep schedule and they can carry secondary parasites and transmit illnesses like other wildlife creatures do. They often get into attics for a cozy nesting area and a food source: rodents.

What Do Ringtails Sound Like?

  • These critters make a variety of vocalizations, including chatters and clicks like raccoons. Ringtails also bark.

What Do Ringtails Eat?

  • Ringtails’ ominvorous diets consist of rodents, insects, lizards, birds and bird eggs. Some of these favored food sources can draw them to your home where populations of such critters are also present.
  • Ringtails also like sweet foods like cacti, berries and other fruits.

Ringtail Facts

  • Ringtails are the state mammal of Arizona. 
  • Ringtail mating is in spring, and these solitary creatures will be social only to mate. There are usually 2–4 babies per litter and reach maturity at 10 months, at which time they become independent. 
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