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Posted by: atowhee | February 25, 2018

RING-TAIL COMES TO TOWN

ringtail in AshlandThis is a youngster, amazed at finding himself among so many huge mammals with only two legs.

Here is link to previous article on ring-tails around Lost Creek in northern Jackson County.

Here’s what Kent Patrick-Riley reported after he got this shot will his smart phone just two blocks from Ashland’s Plaza:

On my way home yesterday afternoon I saw this ringtail along Ashland Creek about 100 feet before it went under the bridge on water street. I’ve never seen one before – I imagine you long-timers may have, but in case not — here it is. Pretty rough as it was taken with an IPhone 5 and the light wasn’t the best. But a cool looking animal!

Here’s what I was able to tell Kent: several years ago I saw one ring-tail [cat] duck into a storm sewer drain on Granite Street in Ashland..they are nocturnal and are at the northern limit of their range in Jackson County…I talked to some biologists after I saw one as I had always taken them for southwestern dry-land animals though I had seen one near Willits, CA in the mountains thereabouts.  There they call it civet cat though it is really in the raccoon family…not a feline.  Species: Bassariscus astutus.
Very efficient predator on land and in trees and shallow water.
Then Kent sent out this follow-up, his is the northernmost observation on a digital data platform for mammal sightings:
“After hearing from many people that they hadn’t seen a ringtail here before and a suggestion from a fellow Land Steward, I submitted my photo to INaturalist-( https://www.inaturalist.org) which is like Ebird but includes observations on all species.  Turns out my observation was at the farthest north of any submitted by observers — as seen in the map of the range below.  I was also happy that the scientists that curate (i.e. validate), concurred, which means that it will be used by researchers in developing information on the species.
Moving north because of climate change? or ?
My observation is the light blue one in the top left of the map below.
Kent
p.s. If you know any naturalists who might be interested, please feel free to share the photo with them in case I missed them on my email list. Also, my apologies to those to whom I already shared the photo. This email has more addressees as I have learned how unusual it is to see one in this area. and I wanted to share the photo with them also.”
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Responses

  1. Great find!

    Ringtails are very shy and nocturnal, but well known to be across southwest Oregon, so this being the only record of ringtail that far north is probably a feature of its elusiveness (I’m reminded of Virginia’s Warbler now being “more common” in Multnomah County in the winter than Great-horned Owls on eBird).

    In the Rogue River Valley (particularly the wilderness stretch in the Siskiyous) ringtails have been known since at least gold mining days when they were known as “miner’s cats,” as the goldminers would keep them semi-domesticated in order to keep the vermin away from the cabin. A friend that works at a certain lodge on the Rogue told me that they still had a semi-domestic ringtail to this day.

    For what its worth, the Atlas of Oregon Wildlife shows a range that extends all the way north into Lane County (in the mountains), and lists their state status as “sensitive,” while providing the caveat that their true status is poorly understood owing to their elusive nature (also, that printing is circa ’97).


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