, a small catlike creature found in the southwestern United States
and throughout Mexico
, also known as the Miner's Cat
or the Civet Cat
. Ringtails resemble cats but have distinctive markings, especially the eponymous tail, sometimes longer than the rest of the creature's body, with 16 to 18 alternating black and white rings, with a black tip. It is only the tail that will convince you the creature is a member of Procyonidae
, the raccoon
family. Much like a skunk
, they can spray a foul-smelling substance when threatened.
Ringtails have a varied diet of fruit
. Miners used captive ringtails to great effect as mouser
s. I find it difficult to imagine anyone capturing a ringtail and pressing it into service; they are famously tenacious
both in fighting off predators and in pursuing prey.