The scientific name of the ringtail is Bassariscus astutus. It’s in the Procyonidae, the same family as our local borderlands’ critters the raccoons and coatis. Further south into the tropical forests of Central America there is another species, Bassaricus sumichrasti, with the common name of cacomixtle, a wonderful nahuatl name that is often applied to our local species as well.
And did you know that ringtails are the Arizona State Mammal? It occurs all over the state, usually below 6,000’ in elevation. And actually it’s found all over the southwest, so I’m surprised it’s not the state mammal of other states, because they are so dang cute! Oh, and did I mention that they can read? Ha!
The photo of the ringtail on the branch of the juniper is by Robert Brody and I thank him. Below you’ll find a link to a video of some frisky ringtails courtesy of my friend Russ McSpadden at the Center for Biological Diversity. Cool!