Arizona State Mammal


Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus)

Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus); photo by Tatiana Gettelman on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike no derivative works).


The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) was designated the state mammal of Arizona in 1986. Ringtails are cat-sized carnivores resembling a small fox with a long raccoon-like tail (in fact they are related to raccoons). The tail is about the length of the head and body with 14-16 black and white bands and a black tip. The ringtail. Five toes on each foot are equipped with sharp, curved, non-retractile claws.

Almost wholly nocturnal, ringtails spend the greater part of the day asleep in their dens. They are expert climbers (capable of ascending vertical walls). Ringtails prefer rocky areas such as rock piles, stone fences, and canyon walls, making their dens in well-protected crevices, crannies, and hollows. Less often found in wooded areas where they live in hollow trees and logs.

Ringtails eat a wide variety of foods: small birds and mammals (rats, mice, squirrels, cottontails), carrion, snakes and lizards, toads and frogs, insects (grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, scorpions, and centipedes), and fruit (mostly native persimmon, hackberry, and mistletoe).

Order Carnivora : Family Procyonidae : Bassariscus astutus (Lichtenstein)



Ringtail in Phoenix, Arizona; photo by robertbody.com on Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License).
Ringtail in Phoenix, Arizona

Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus); public domain image from USDA Forest Service.

Ringtail - Bassariscus astutus


Ringtail Introductions