(Bassariscus astutus) #62-106

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Ringtail Bassariscus astutus

Head and body length of B. astutus is 305-420 mm, tail length is 310-441mm. Height at the shoulder is about 160 mm, and weights range from 824 - 1,338 grams. Coloration is brownish above with buffy underparts. The eyes are ringed with black and the face has buff or whitish patches. The tail is striped black and white its entire length. Females have four mammae.

Preferred habitat is rocky areas where B. astutus inhabits dens or uses abandoned cabins. B. astutus is omnivorous, taking insects, birds, fruit, rodents and a variety of vegetable matter.

Breeding occurs from February to May, though the female is only receptive for 24 hours. Gestation is between 51 and 54 days, and litter sizes average 2-4 offspring, though 1-5 may be born. Often both parents care for the young who weigh 28 grams at birth. They open their eyes at 31-34 days and begin to take solid food at 4 weeks. At 2 months they can be found foraging with their parents who wean them by the age of 4 months. Both males and females are sexually mature at 10 months.

B. astutus is found in Mexico (from USA to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Tiburon Isl and several other islands in the Gulf of California), USA (SW Oregon, N Nevada, Utah, SW Wyoming and W Colorado, south through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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