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From southwest Oregon and Texas to southern Mexico.


Weeded slopes and rocky terrain near water


A small, alert cousin of the raccoon with shorter limbs, and soft thick gray-tan fur and an enormous fluffy tail, striped with black and white rings. The muzzle is sharp and face broad; white patches set off dark eyes.

Cacomistle Click to View Bigger Picture

The cacomistle is nocturnal and omnivorous and is a great leaper and climber, thanks to its semi-retractile claws and long tail for balancing. Generally this is a quiet, solitary animal, but when cornered or upset it can bark, snarl or scream; the young make a metallic squeak.


They have from one to five young (usually three) born in May to June after an unknown period of gestation (estimated 40-70 days). The kits are born blind, deaf, and toothless. They are weaned at three weeks and their eyes open at 4-5 weeks. By two months of age they hunt with parents, both of who contribute to their welfare.

Interesting Facts:

The cacomistle often inhabits deserted dwellings and Indian ruins. It is sometimes called the ring-tailed cat, though not related to cats.

Cacomistle Click to View Bigger Picture
Did YOU Know?
The name cacomistle comes from an Aztec word meaning
Class: mammal
Genus: Bassariscus
Species: astutus arizonensis
Length: 25 - 32 inches
Height: 6 inches
Weight: 2 - 3 pounds
Average Lifespan: 7
Wild Diet: Mice and fruit. They especially like bananas
Predators: Primarily owls and large carnivores
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building

Learn more about mammal or animals from South America!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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