Though nocturnal and not regularly seen, the ringtail is a relatively common animal throughout the southwestern United States and most of Mexico. This small mammal is named for the 14-16 black and white stripes that ring its tail; a tail that may exceed the animal’s body length.
Ringtails are extremely solitary animals and usually only socialize for mating purposes. They spend nighttime hours hunting and foraging for an omnivorous diet that includes berries, fruits, mice, insects, and birds. Their ability as mouse hunters combined with their tame nature led many miners in the nineteenth century to domesticate ringtails to rid cabins of vermin, hence the “miner’s cat” nickname.
The ringtail is currently the state mammal of Arizona.