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Reply #4: Obviously related to this North American cousin [View All]

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robdogbucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 02:02 PM
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4. Obviously related to this North American cousin
Ring-tailed Cat

The Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is a mammal of the raccoon family (thus not actually a cat), native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the Ringtail cat, Ring-tailed cat or Miner's cat, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a "civet cat" (after similar, though unrelated, cat-like omnivores of Asia and Africa). The Ringtail is sometimes called a cacomistle, though this term seems to be more often used to refer to Bassariscus sumichrasti.

Physical description

The Ringtail is buff to dark brown in color with white underparts and a flashy black and white striped tail that has 14-16 white and black stripes,<2> which is longer than the rest of its body. The claws are short, straight, and semi-retractable.<3> The eyes are large and purple, each surrounded by a patch of light fur. It is smaller than a housecat, measuring 3042 cm long with a tail of 3144 cm and weighing 0.81.5 kg. Ringtails have occasionally been hunted for their pelts, but the fur is not especially valuable.

Range and habitat

The Ringtail is found in southern California, Colorado, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Nevada, Texas, Utah and throughout northern and central Mexico. Its distribution overlaps that of B. sumichrasti in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz.<3> It is found in rocky, desert as its habitat, where it nests in the hollows of trees or abandoned wooden structures. The ringtail is the state mammal of Arizona. It is also found in the Great Basin Desert. The Great Basin desert covers most of Nevada and over half of Utah, as well as parts of California, Idaho, and Oregon. The ringtail prefers to live in rocky habitats associated with water. These areas can include riparian canyons, caves, and mine shafts.

Agility

The ankle joint is flexible and able to rotate over 180 degrees, a trait helping make it an agile climber. Their considerable tail provides balance for negotiating narrow ledges and limbs, even allowing them to reverse directions by performing a cartwheel. Ringtails also can ascend narrow passages by stemming (pressing all feet on one wall and their back against the other or pressing both right feet on one wall and both left feet on the other), and wider cracks or openings by ricocheting between the walls.<4>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring-tailed_Cat


I saw one of these at the McCloud River's Nature Conservancy cabin about 20 years ago. They are really smart creatures.

I tried to post the picture on that page to show how much alike these two animals are, but pics don't cut and paste for me. Can someone give me the cliff notes version of how that is done?



rdb


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