Ringtails, often called ring-tailed cats, miner's cats, or cacomistles, are fast, agile, lithe civet-like predators of the American Southwest and Mexico. A closely related species Bassariscus sumichrasti is found in the southern reaches of South America. Ringtails live in rocky desert habitat near water and nest in hollow trees or abandoned structures.
Ringtails are remarkably agile. They are known to turn cartwheels, can scoot down trees headfirst, and chimney up cracks by pressing their feet against one side and their backs against the other. Their balance on narrow branches and ledges is often remarked upon.
Ringtails are nocturnal and solitary. They are active predators, taking prey as large as rabbits along with squirrels, rats, mice, birds, snakes, lizards, and frogs; but they will also eat berries and insects. Their vocalizations include barks and chatters. These animals are easily tamed and make good mousers.
Back to Procyonids