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Animal Information

Ringtail Great Southwest

Ringtail

Bassariscus astutus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: Ringtails are relatives of the raccoon and inhabit desert canyons, especially areas with rocky outcrops, caves and mine shafts. Strictly nocturnal, ringtails use their large eyes and keen sense of smell to locate food, including rodents, birds, invertebrates, and plant material. They are excellent mousers. Early settlers, having discovered this fact, would keep them as pets to keep their cabins free of mice. They came to be known as "miner's cats." Ringtails are skilled climbers and leapers, and can negotiate steep canyon walls or trees, using their agile feet and long tails for balance. Predators of ringtails include great horned owls, bobcats and coyotes.

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