The ringtail cat is a mammal of the raccoon family, found primarily in West and Southwest USA. Even though it is not a cat, it is still known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat, miner’s cat or bassarisk, and is also sometimes called a “civet cat”. People call them this name because when they feel like they are in danger, they will secrete the most disgusting odor from their anal glands in self-defense.
Ringtails are cat-sized animals that resemble a mix between a fox and a raccoon. The large eyes are ringed by white fur, and their pointy ears give an almost fox-like appearance. The ringtail cat has a long and bushy tail, usually longer than the rest of the animal itself. The name “ringtail” comes from the black ring markings that are found on their tail.
These creatures are very shy and are wary of humans, so they are spotted less often than their close cousins, the raccoon. The ringtails have some characteristics that remind us of a cat. For example, it cleans itself by licking its forepaw then uses it to wipe and clean its ears, face, and snout.
The ringtail cats are primarily carnivorous and they love munching on snakes, lizards, birds, and frogs. However, they also do eat other food like plants, fruit, and insects. Despite their reputation as effective hunters of smaller prey, the ringtails have got to be careful of predators themselves such as great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), coyotes, (Canis latrans), Bobcats (Lynx rufus) and mountain lions (Puma concolor).
h/t: Bored Panda