Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, is a small carnivore that occurs in much of the western (especially southwestern) and south-central United States, as well as in Mexico. The species is widespread in Utah, but is seemingly rare throughout the state.

Preferred habitats for the species include rocky desert and woodland areas. Ringtail dens may be found near water within such habitats among rocks, in small caves, or in hollow logs.

Females typically give birth one litter of one to four young during the late spring of each year. Ringtails are generalist feeders, consuming such items as small mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and fruits. The species is nocturnal, active throughout the year, and extremely secretive. The ringtail is a furbearer of limited popularity in Utah.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.