Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Ring-tailed Cat
Name: Kenneth
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I have seen a ring tailed cat on my Southern California mountain acreage (3400 ft elev.). Where do I find information about this cat and what can I feed it to keep it around?



Replies:
Hi Ken!

i can see you are an animal lover as i am too... See...the animal called "ring tailed cat" actually is related with the raccoon, and in US they live by desert Southwest and mostly in Southern Colorado. They are seen also along the foothills of the Front Range and along the major canyons of the Western Slope. Typical habitat is canyon and mesa country, they try to be always near water, even they have quite good kidneys and may not need to drink, but for the babies.

Usually they are born in May or June (3-4 litter) almost blind and naked. But their development is very fast and the young are weaned after 5 weeks after birth.

Their coat is yellowish gray on their back, and gray below, with a prominent white eye ring (so their name). The tail is tipped with black. The adults are about 28 inches long, beeing half of that size their tail. Their weight is about 2 pounds.

Ring tails are very agile climbers and their quite large tail helps them to balance. Their ankles can rotate to let them go head first down a cliff or a tree. They look for food only by night feedind on mice, birds and insects. They usually live in couples (or pairs) or as a family and they like to hunt together.

So...my advice would be to look around to find if he is really alone or belong to a group or family.. If he has companions leave them alone, they will follow nature and will survive. But if the critter is alone, he probably got lost or the members of the group died for some reason. Could you possible trap him to let it free in the wilderness where it could find companions? Otherwise, since he would be looking for prey to eat, are there any rats around? If not and if you are kind enough to not let it to starve,...maybe some small pieces of meat... Sorry, i digress... but i love so much the children of nature...

Good luck! and thanks to ask NEWTON!!

Mabel
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory