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Is It a Cat? Is It a Racoon? No, It’s a Ringtail

The ringtail is an odd-looking creature that inhabits desert areas of the American Southwest. Here are some fun facts about this mammal that few people see.

Are They Cats?

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Ringtails are commonly called ringtail cats, even though these creatures are related to raccoons. Their scientific name, Bassariscus astutus, means “cunning little fox.”

Distinctive Tails

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Ringtails, as the name implies, have tails of alternating black and white circles, much like a ringtail lemur.

Good Eyes and Ears

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These creatures have large, round ears and good eyesight, which is perfect for getting around their desert habitats.

Nocturnal

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Ringtails sleep in their dens during the day and come out at night, which is part of the reason why these animals need big ears and large eyes.

Great Climbers

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Ringtails love to climb up and down rock faces. Their slender bodies allow them to hide in narrow crevices to get away from predators.

Hind Feet

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The hind feet of ringtails rotate 180 degrees to make it easier to grasp rocks, cacti, and cliff sides.

Rocky Habitats

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These carnivores live in rocky habitats near water. Ringtails are the state mammal of Arizona.

Hard to Find

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These elusive creatures are found in desert areas of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Find out what you can do to help save another amazing desert creature.

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