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Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous? Eye-Opening Facts

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Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous?

Have you ever heard the name Ringtail Cats? Don’t misunderstand them as cats, as many people did in previous decades. Yes, they were pets, and there are still many people who want to have them as pets in their homes. If you are thinking the same, you should reconsider it from a safety point of view. 

So, before you decide to choose a Ringtail cat as a pet, it is important to know whether these cats are safe as pets. Therefore, in this article, we will clarify the most asked question: Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous? Let’s have a look at the answer to this particular question in detail. 

What are Ringtail cats?

RIngtail cat behavior is still discoverable; therefore, many pet owners of other cats have a question in mind: are ringtail cats dangerous? We will answer this question in detail, but before answering the question about ringtail behavior, we should know about what are ringtail cats.

"It's a mammal with rings on tail like raccoon, and face like a fox, but its body has resemblence with domestic cat and ferret. Only a few people are lucky enough to see these nocturnal small cute species."

Ringtail cat means a cat with rings on their tail. It is also known as miner cats due to their historical presence in mines. The ringtail cat is an interesting and attractive creature that lives in different regions of North America. 

These small mammals belong to the raccoon family, which is very popular in cats. They have a unique and attractive appearance with dark eyes and bushy large tails. These animals have a resemblance to cats and foxes, with unique behavior that makes them valuable and interesting to their surroundings. 

Despite the lovable and intriguing cat species in the world, before having them in our homes, we should understand ringtail cats’ behavior toward humans and other animals. Some species of the ringtail cat can be seen in the houses. People also have them as pets in homes.

Ringtail Cats Specie Details

Ringtail cats are specific and interesting creatures with the scientific name of Bassariscusastutus (B.astutus). The name gives the wrong impression that this species belongs to a cat and is another version of a domesticated cat. 

But according to Wiki and other facts, it belongs to the raccoon family. Some people say it is not in the raccoon family now because it broke off from raccoons during the Tortonian Age, which means 10 million years ago. 

Physically, it looks like a tiny fox-like animal weighing about 1-2 pounds and 24 inches in length. One can identify these animals with long, bushy tails with black and white bands or rings. Large eyes with white rings around them and long protruding and rounded ears make them different. 

They have long grayish bodies with short legs. According to the scientific name, “Bassar” means fox, and “astut” means cunning; thus, a ringtail is a cunning little fox. 

Ringtail Cats Behavior

To give the answer to your question, are ringtail cats dangerous? It is important to understand ringtail cats’ behavior. Here, we discuss some critical behavioral characteristics of these small animals to know about them better.

Physical Characteristics

Ringtail cat size is equal to a normal domestic cat. It has a slender body, a bushy tail, and large round ears. Its fur is soft and varies in color, specifically shades of gray and brown. Distinctive ringtail and white markings on their face give them their name. 

They have relatively short legs and broad feet with furry soles. Legs and feet help them to grip the surfaces of the trees and rocks easily. That is the reason Ringtail cats are excellent climbers.

Here are some additional physical characteristics of ringtails:

  • Body mass: 0.82-1.3 kg (1.8-2.9 lb)
  • Head and body length: 305-420 mm (12.0-17 in)
  • Tail length of Ringtail: 310-441 mm (12-17.4 in)
  • Shoulder height: 160 mm (6.3 in)
  • Lifespan: 7-10 years in the wild, up to 15 years total life

Habitat

Ringtail cats are found in different habitats, from rocky deserts to forests. They are present throughout North America, including woodlands, deserts, and forests. Ringtails are solitary animals and are mostly active at night. Ringtails are skilled climbers and love wild environments. Their sharp claws and longtails help them to get a wide range of habitats. 

Diet:

Ringtails are omnivores, and their diet consists of various foods such as small mammals, fruits, birds, and insects. They can create a balance in the ecosystem by controlling the rodent population. It also makes them beneficial for agriculture.

Interactions and Behavior Of Ringtail Cats

Behavior and interactions of Ringtail cats with humans and other animals are as follows: 

Nocturnal Nature

Ringtail cats are active at night; therefore, they are nocturnal. This nocturnal behavior helps them to avoid predators and minimize competition with other species. Active at-night behavior also helps them to live in different habitats because in North America, most of the day, the weather is hot, and night is best for this animal to survive in different habitats. It is also helpful to find food as Ringtail cats are omnivores, and most of their prey animals are rodents and bats that are active at night.

Social Behavior

Ringtails are not social creatures except during mating season. They only communicate with each other through scent marking, vocalization, and body language. These animals create territories that limit their interaction with other animals. They don’t want to see other animals and interact with them.  

A resident of the Fossil Ridge subdivision of northeast San Antonio, Jessica Press, shared her experience with Texas Monthly that once she heard in her home’s walls a scuffling sound and got excited that it might be a ringtail, who gave a visit to her house. But sadly, if it was true, she still couldn’t see it. 

"They are best in hide and seek. Even the people in areas where miner cats are common, people saw them once or twice in their entire life. You will never happen to see them like other cats around you."

Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous To Humans?

The answer to the question are Ringtail cats dangerous is specifically based on the interaction of Ringtail cats with humans. So, we discuss their interaction with humans in detail with positive and negative points. Ringtail cats are generally shy and solitary animals, and they tend to avoid humans. However, there are some cases where ringtails have interacted with humans, either positively or negatively.

Positive interactions with humans:

  1. Ringtail cats are known to eat human foods such as trash and pet food. It can be a problem for humans, but it is also a sign that ringtails are comfortable around humans.
  2. Many people notice that ringtails enter human houses specifically in search of shelter and food. This behavior shows that Ringtail cats are not afraid of humans. 
  3. These animals are affectionate and playful animals as a pet, but Ringtails are challenging to train due to some obvious reasons.

Negative interactions:

  1. Ringtails have some negative interactions with humans as well. They sometimes bite and scratch humans, especially when they are threatened.
  2. Do ringtails carry diseases? The answer to this query is YES. These animals transmit diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis to humans. Due to this problem, Ringtail cats are dangerous to humans. 
  3. Are ringtail cats dangerous to humans? Yes, they are. They may be dangerous to property, such as chewing on wire or insulations.

Overall, we should be cautious around Ringtails even though they are generally shy animals. Ringtail cats are nocturnal and live in the wild, so it is best to leave them alone. Pet owners should be cautious and take precautions to prevent bites and scratches. 

Here are some other important tips for interacting with ringtails safely:

  • Do not handle a Ringtail cat as if it seems friendly; it still can bite you. Because sometimes they feel threatened around humans.
  • If you have a pet ringtail cat, make sure that it is vaccinated against major diseases and keep it in a safe and secure enclosure with proper veterinary care.
  • If a Ringtail cat enters your home, don’t remove it by yourself; instead, hire a professional wildlife rehabilitator for assistance.

By following these tips, you can help to protect yourself and ringtails from negative interactions.

Do They Make Good Pets

Bassariscus Astatus, commonly known as Ringtail cat, may not be dangerous to humans, but it is not safe and a good option as a pet for humans. This beautiful and unique wild creature never likes the company of any kind, even if it is another ringtail. 

On the Inaturalist social app, only 4,900 total observations for ringtails are seen despite the fact that people worldwide use this app. They are shy and love to live in hidden areas.

They part away after mating, and the mother likes a comfortable and alone place to raise her young. When a Ringtail cat becomes young, they forge a path of its own. Therefore, it is an unrealistic thought that these animals are happy with humans. Most of the time, these small creatures escape from the place where they see another creature. 

It can be challenging for a pet owner to have a Ringtail cat at home after knowing these are not social and love to be alone.

One report claims that Ringtial is kept as a pet by native Americans. Nowak, R., and Poglayen-Neuwall published the report.

Ringtail mostly survives on rodents, so they can be kept at home to reduce the population of rodents. They will make sure that mice and rats will not be seen around your homes. But on the other hand, Ringtail cats love their freedom. This little fox-like creature was kept in prospector’s camps as mousers; therefore, they were named miner’s cats. Ringtail cats can be better pets if they are at home at a young age.

FAQs

Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous To Dogs

Ringtail cats are not dangerous to dogs by nature, but they can carry some diseases that cause harm to dogs, like feline and canine panleukopenia. Don’t make your dog come in contact with ringtail cats, and keep them vaccinated.

Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous To Cats

Yes, ringtail cats can be dangerous to cats if they are not vaccinated. Feline panleukopenia is highly contagious and deadly to cats, which ringtail cats carry. Moreover, ringtail cats may compete with other pet cats for food and territory. They may also attack them if they feel threatened.

Are Ringtail Cats Rare

Yes, ringtail cats are rare. They are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, but population sizes and growth rates remain unclear. Many people hunt ringtails for their fur. Another threat to them is habitat loss and fragmentation.

Are Ringtail Cats Protected In Texas

Yes, ringtail cats are protected in Texas under state law. As they are under the fur-bearing animals category, a license is needed to take, trap, possess, or sell them or their pelts.

Are Ringtail Cats Friendly?

They are generally shy and solitary animals, but some can be socialized to become friendly companions.

What Diseases Do Ringtail Cats Carry?

Ringtail cats are disease carriers, and they can carry several diseases, which include:

  • Feline panleukopenia
  • Rabies
  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonella
  • Tularemia

My Verdict on Are Ringtail Cats Dangerous

Generally, the answer to your question, are Ringtail cats dangerous, is no, for some obvious reason, as they do not harm humans, cats, dogs, and a host of other animals. But these small mammals are not a good choice as pets. If you want to have them as pets, adopt them at an early age and train them according to your preferences. 

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