Within the Walls: Ringtails at Zion National Park

Contact: Anna Willoughby, anna.willoughby@uga.edu

A ringtail captured on wildlife camera. Credit: Anna Willoughby.
Hunter Camera

Ringtails are small mammals that have bushy striped tails like raccoons and are a bit smaller than a typical house cat. At Zion National Park in Utah, where ringtails are indigenous, most live outdoors exclusively, and are active at night. They forage on small animals, including mice and insects, as well as plants and food they scavenge from people. But some ringtails have taken up residence in park buildings where they seek food and shelter in attics and crawlspaces.

Odum Doctoral student Anna Willoughby is studying how the use of buildings is affecting ringtail diet, behavior and parasite infection. Her project was recently featured in the Zion National Park Forever Project 2022 Field Guide as a priority project that will help ensure a sustainable future for the park.

Read more: Within The Walls-Uncommon Ringtail Residents.