Bassariscus astutus

Great Southwest icon

Great Southwest

Back To Animals


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.

Our Animal's Story

We currently have two ringtails that live in one of our nocturnal exhibits. Rambo was born in the wild in 2010. While we make a practice of not taking healthy animals from the wild, Rambo had been labeled a nuisance animal. After being relocated twice, authorities decided it was best for him to go to a zoo. Rambo came to us in 2011 and continues to be mischievous. Reba, our female, was born in June 2013. She arrived at ZooAmerica from the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas in January of 2021.

silhouette of mountain range