Ringtail: A Rare Sight

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Bassariscus astutus-Cacomixtle-JCRorabaugh-Ringtail in a mine

The ringtail, sometimes called the cacomistle or “ring-tailed cat,” is actually a member of the raccoon family. Like its northern cousin the common raccoon, the ringtail is solitary and generally active at night — however, ringtails tend to avoid humans, which makes this photo taken in a Sky Island mine quite rare.

Although the ringtail is found in many areas throughout western and southern North America, its population density is low, and they only interact with other members of the species during the early-year mating season.

The biggest threat to the ringtail is their legal capture for fur, which frequently occurs in areas of southern United States where their population numbers are unknown. However, the IUCN Red List has classified the ringtail as “Least Concern” regarding population numbers.

Find out more about the animals of Sky Island and learn how you can help protect them and conserve their environment right here.

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