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Ringtail Cats in Captivity

 
 
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  #1
Ringtail Cats in Captivity
Old 30-01-2011

Hello all,

I am currently looking into Ringtail Cats (Bassariscus astutus) as a pass time, whilst doing so I realised that only 3 Zoos (Burgers, Frankfurt and Poznan) in Europe keep this species according to Zootierliste, where as the number of American Zoos that keep this species is far greater.

I realise that this species is native to America, and this would be part of the reason why a good number of US Zoos keep them. But, Why are so few kept in Europe?

What is the Ringtail Cats History in Captivity and does the species breed well in Captivity?

Any information, enclosure pictures or stories would be appreciated!

Thanks
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  #2
Old 31-01-2011

I know Oregon Zoo keeps ringtail cats, but I don't think they breed them
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  #3
Old 31-01-2011

In the past they bred very well in Burgers Zoo, but I think the last breeding occured in 2006.....
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  #4
Old 02-02-2011

I have read elsewhere (forget where now though ) that Ringtail Cats are unusually hard to breed in Captivity. Thanks for the replies.
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  #5
Old 02-02-2011

I would think the fact that ringtails are nocturnal would be a factor. My experience has been that even when they are displayed in nocturnal exhibits, you don't usually see much.

Since they are "my" state mammal, I'll go into tour mode and mention that while nicknamed "the miners' cat" because they were often tamed by miners, they're related to raccoons, coatis and kinkajous, the latter also strictly nocturnal.

Say - has anyone seen an olingo? I didn't know about them until I checked my spelling of kinkajou.
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  #6
Old 07-02-2011

I know the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is thinking about planning on a breeding plan for ringtails
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  #7
Old 07-02-2011

Some reasons why ring-tailed cats are not very popular in European collections:

-nocturnal & secretive
-prone to develop stereotypic behaviour
-not very appealing to the majority of visitors
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  #8
Old 07-02-2011

Even in the United States Ringtail Cats are not kept frequently or in high numbers. According to ISIS there are only 39 Ringtail Cats (both B.astutus and B.sumichrasti) kept in North America. A lot of those are kept alone or in single gender pairs.They are much more common in southern zoos than in northern zoos. I personally have only seen Ringtail Cats in one zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo keeps a female Central American Ringtail Cat or Cacomistle, (Bassariscus sumichrasti), in their Night House.
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  #9
Old 07-02-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong View Post
Some reasons why ring-tailed cats are not very popular in European collections:

-nocturnal & secretive
-prone to develop stereotypic behaviour
-not very appealing to the majority of visitors
Huh, you can say what you want about ring-tailed cats what you like, but IF you manage to ever spot one, they ARE cute

I agree that they're really hard to make a good exhibit though
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  #10
Old 07-02-2011

They are a lovely species but the small European population is unlikely to increase very much. After Burgers initial success they have been unable to get any of the offspring to breed. Maybe pair compatability and not being able to reproduce seasonality has something to do with it.
Also they are not recommended in the EAZA collection plan although the Small Carnivore TAG does monitor them. Cacomistle are quite long live, so the few there are will be around for a while and worth going to see if you have the oppotunity.
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  #11
Old 07-02-2011

@ Boopashaboopa - I didn't realize there was another Tucsonan on ZooChat (well at least not since Lightinghorse moved to Amarillo, Texas). Nice to have you post here.

The only two places I recall seeing ringtails is Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and The Living Desert. They have always been curled up asleep and I agree they do not make good exhibit animals (cute as they are). Since I don't think they are threatened or endangered, I doubt there would be much of a push for zoos to have them.

I was very lucky when I first moved to Tucson, I did a moonlight tram tour up Sabino Canyon and we actually saw a wild one walking along the road.
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  #12
Old 07-02-2011

I frequently saw wild ones in the vicinity of Canyon Lake just east of the Phoenix metro area. Very fun critters.

Phoenix Zoo used to display a pair in the Arizona Trail. The Hogle Zoo currently displays a Central American cacomistle.
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  #13
Old 07-02-2011

Cacomixtle are very hardy mammals that even live wild in large wooded areas of Mexico City such as chapultepec park or on the campus of the Universidad nacional autonoma de Mexico. They are rarely seen because of their nocturnal habits. In rural mexico, a cacomixtle is a name given to a person who is good at stealing, since the ringtails are well known as domestic fowl killers. There is a trio of cacomixltes at the Los Coyotes Zoo here in the capital city that are awake when feed at 10 in the morning and hide away the rest of the day.I have not seen any in other zoos in Mexico.
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  #14
Old 11-02-2011

North Carolina Zoo had cacomistle. Not sure if they still have them or not.
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  #15
Old 11-02-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Wukong
Some reasons why ring-tailed cats are not very popular in European collections:

-nocturnal & secretive
-prone to develop stereotypic behaviour
-not very appealing to the majority of visitors
is there something about cacomistles that make them more prone to stereotypic behaviour than any other small carnivores in captivity, or is it just caused by poor husbandry that could be an easy fix?
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