Q:

What is the Arizona state animal?

A:

The Arizona state animal is the ringtail, also known as the ringtail cat, miner's cat or cacomistle. Ringtails look very like cats and foxes but have a ringed tails similar to a raccoon's.

The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is not really a cat; it is related to the raccoon and the coatimundi. It was designated Arizona's state mammal in 1986. The ringed tails are extremely long, typically the length of the head and body, and have 14 to 16 black-and-white bands and a black tip. Each foot has five toes equipped with sharp, curved, non-retractile claws.

Ringtails are almost wholly nocturnal and expert climbers. They live in rocky areas and occasionally in the woods, where they prefer hollow trees. Ringtails are omnivores, consuming both meat and plants. They eat small birds and mammals, carrion, reptiles, insects and fruit.


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