Real live Foxface

The only tame and trained ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) in the world?!

It was only because the  lab bench got gotten dusty that the tiny, five-toed pawprints showed up at all, giving him (her?) away. My labmate brought in a cat-sized trap, but we never caught anything.  It must have been aringtail (Bassariscus astutus).

It seemed exotic to me that a creature I associate with backwoods canyons was camping out in our building on a busy university campus in the center of town! But the Desert Museum handler of this ringtail I photographed at the Earth Day event at Biosphere 2 assured me it was not uncommon. Much like the Foxface character in The Hunger Games, these clever critters (look at that scientific name: means smart little fox!) hide out in attics around Tucson, perhaps stealing little bits of food, but never so much you might know it’s gone – or perhaps foraging on more pesky creatures also lurking around your place.

This one, safely in a harness, flowed through the trainer’s hands, much like I have seen pet ferrets do. She (I think) seemed awfully alert for that time of the day, but then again, there were an awful lot of people around. I wonder if she was smelling wild cousins – after all, I imagine Biosphere 2 could support a whole crew!

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