Thursday, September 8, 2011
I expect coyotes to wander around here. They walk over from their dens in the mountain preserve as well, looking for food and water, of course. And we certainly see a ton of rabbits, have to continually stop our cars on the road to let quail families cross, and I'm seeing more and more roadrunners around here. But I've never seen a ringtail before and am glad my neighbor decided to share his discovery, as it allows me to share this photo with you.
To me, he's a lovely reminder that it's the simple things in life that can cause us pleasure, create amazement, or otherwise put a smile on our faces.
Because, isn't this guy adorable?
A FEW FACTS ABOUT RINGTAILS
_Sometimes referred to as ringtail cats, they are not cats; the ringtail is a member of the raccoon family, with some resemblance to the fox.
_It is the state mammal of Arizona.
_The animal is named for the bands around his tail, up to 16 of them, alternating in black and white fur.
_Miners have used them to control rats underground.
_They inhabit the desert Southwest, mostly its canyons and rocky plateaus, and are good climbers because of it.
_Their diet varies, from rodents to small mammals (rabbits, for instance) to birds. And they even like insects, especially scorpions. In the fall, these little guys don't mind munching on plants.
_They are also nocturnal, which explains why my neighbor spotted them last night.
And now I'm curious: Have you spotted any wildlife in your backyard lately? If so, please share your story here.