The range of the ringtail is quite large and covers much of the southwestern United States and Mexico. Males and females are both sexually mature by the mating season following their birth. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. Some less common food sources include fish, snakes, birds, lizards, and carrion. Be on the lookout for native animals in your own backyard! They eat small rodents, squirrels, rabbits, insects, and even animals that are dead. About the same size as a cat, the common ringtail possum is gray, with orange-brown tinges on its legs and tail, and white patches on its belly and behind the eyes, and a white tip to its tail. While they are generally carnivorous, they have also been known to eat fruits and berries. Diet Omnivore. The ringtail fathers are interesting because they may stay in the area and play with their offspring as they grow to adulthood. The ringtail is a small nocturnal carnivore that is a little smaller than a typical housecat. Small vertebrates such as passerine birds, rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads are the most important foods during winters. They are well adapted to living in trees and are not often found on the ground. Ringtails are short at an average height of 6 inches, but their extremely long bushy tails can extend the length of their bodies to almost 3 feet. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. It's OK to disagree with someone's ideas, but personal attacks, insults, threats, hate speech, advocating violence and other violations can result in a ban. 1. Diet of the Ringtail. These animals have suffered loss of habitat from deforestation, due to the fact that they are almost exclusively arboreal. They are members of the raccoon family. Such family groups live in nests which they build, called dreys. They will dine on carrion but prefer capturing rodents, insects, rabbits and ground squirrels. The face is fox-like, with a pointed snout, and the body is raccoon-like and elongated. They are born blind and deaf with a mainly white coloration and do not open their eyes for the first month of their life. Please be polite. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. Ringtails are excellent climbers because they can swivel 180 degrees on their back legs. Hopefully, this trend will begin to reverse itself and their fan base will begin to grow. The newborn babies crawl into their mother’s pouch and stay attached to a nipple from 42 to 49 days, remaining in the pouch for another 4 months or so. The common ringtail possum eats leaves of a variety of both introduced and native plants, and also fruits and flowers. Their diet includes birds, rodents, grasshoppers and other insects. Common Ringtail Possum Wikipedia article -, 2. Ringtails resemble their larger raccoon cousins and are often misidentified as such by people who are fortunate enough to see them. It eats its own fecal pellets, thereby digesting its food twice and extracting the maximum nutritional value. The ringtail measures 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) long with a tail of about the same length, and weighs less than 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms). If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. These possums are nocturnal, so are most active during the night. Ringtails are omnivores, eating both animal and plant material. About the same size as a cat, the common ringtail possum is gray, with orange-brown tinges on its legs and tail, and white patches on its belly and behind the eyes, and a white tip to its tail. You will need to register before adding a comment. The common ringtail possum is not solitary, unlike many other species of ringtail possum, and usually forms small groups, typically of one adult male with one to two adult females and their offspring from the last breeding season. Common ringtail possums, being monogamous, remain with one partner only. The gap between its second and third fingers on its forefeet means that it can hold onto branches securely. When they finish eating, they groom themselves by licking their fur, wiping their head clean with damp paws. Their primary prey includes mice, rats, rabbits, ground squirrels, insects, and other small mammals. Berries and insects are important in the diet year-round, and become the primary part of the diet in spring and summer, along with other fruit. Despite their name, ringtail cats are not even cats at all. Gestation lasts about 4 months and they usually have one or two litters each year, usually 2 babies, although 1 to 4 have been recorded. Jared Rhoton is a Texas Master Naturalist, Big Country Chapter. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. Both parents often care for the young, the father carrying them around while the mother feeds. The next time you see what you think is a small long raccoon, take a closer look. A ringtail cat. However, the ringtail is omnivorous, as are all procyonids. They also eat fruit, and some of their favorites include prickly pear, juniper, blackberries, hack, persimmon, … Common Ringtail Possum on The IUCN Red List site -,, Ringtails breed in mid spring and each litter usually ranges from two four babies. This led to the species being known as “miners’ cats.” As mining began to fade as an industry in the United States, the knowledge of the ringtail began to fade as well. Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. Raccoons have the black band around their eyes that make them look like little bandits, but ringtails have white fur around their eyes that make them look like they are wearing spectacles. For information, go to or the BCTXMN Facebook page. Often mistaken for their raccoon cousins, the ringtail cat is a special sight in our area. When people think of the many nocturnal animals that live in our area, they usually think of raccoons, bats or opossums, but that leaves out one of our most interesting animals of the night - the ringtail cat! The fact is that few people think about the small ringtail cat because ringtails are good at keeping a low profile. Master Naturalists are sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. In built-up areas they are in danger of being struck by cars, and hunted by cats and dogs. It is interesting to note that ringtails were first captured for use by miners to control rodent populations within their living quarters. If threatened, their tail bristles and arches over their head, making them look larger. The defining feature of these animals is their large ringed tail which resembles that of their raccoon cousins, but are much larger in comparison to their body size.