The Miner's Cat

Slender omnivores of the Desert Southwest, Mexico and Central America, ringtails are members of the raccoon family.  Though fairly common on rocky hillsides and in wooded canyons, these bushy-tailed hunters are nocturnal and are seldom encountered.

Feasting on a wide range of small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, ringtails also consume berries, seeds and carrion; since they controlled rodents within and near mines, these agile climbers became known as the miner's cat.  Ringtails are generally solitary creatures though prolonged pairings have been documented; mating occurs in mid spring and three or four kits are born two months later.  Dens are placed in caves, tree cavities, hollow logs, beneath rock ledges or in abandoned cabins; cared for by both parents, the young emerge from the den within two months and are fully independent by autumn.

In Colorado, ringtails are most common across southern and western portions of the State.  However, they have expanded their range northward through the Front Range foothills and now inhabit the canyons west of Metro Denver.