It Was a Christmas ‘Tail’ for ZooAmerica
March 16, 2015
On Christmas Day 2014, ZooAmerica, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, welcomed three baby Ringtails (Ring-tailed Cats). The two females were named ‘Holly’ and ‘Noel’, and their brother was named ‘Kringle’.
Photo Credits: ZooAmerica (Image 1: Kits at 5 weeks old; Image 2: 12 days old; Image 3: three weeks old; Image 4: Four weeks old; Image 5: Six weeks old; Image 6: Seven weeks old; Image 7: Eight weeks)
The three kits are now on exhibit with their mother, ‘Acacia’. They continue to spend a great deal of time in their nest box, sleeping or nursing; but they can also be seen, occasionally, out playing.
The kits will stay with their mother for about a year. They will then travel to other zoos, with the expectation of them staring families of their own.
The Ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family. They are native to Central America, Northern South America, California, Colorado, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas.
Their coloring is buff to dark brown, with white under-parts and a flashy black and white striped tail that has 14–16 white and black stripes. The claws are short, straight, and semi-retractable. The eyes are large and black, each surrounded by a patch of light fur. The Ringtail is smaller than a housecat. It measures 30–42 cm (12–17 in) long to the base of the tail with the tail adding another 31–44 cm (12–17 in). It can weigh from 0.7 to 1.5 kg (1.5 to 3.3 lb). Ringtails have occasionally been hunted for their pelts, but the fur is not especially valuable.
Ringtails mate in the spring and have a gestation period of about 45 to 50 days. During this time, the male will procure food for his mate. They generally give birth to a litter of 2 to 4 cubs. The cubs will open their eyes after a month and will hunt for themselves after about four months. They reach sexual maturity at ten months. The Ringtail has a lifespan of about seven years, in the wild.
They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.