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Rare ringtail cat spotted in Twin Falls

There have only been five confirmed sightings of ringtails in Idaho.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A ringtail cat was spotted near the Amalgamated Sugar factory just south of Twin Falls.

According to Idaho Fish and Game, ringtails are tiny, nocturnal, and carnivorous animals with big ears, pointed noses, and long tails and are members of the raccoon family. 

They have been known to survive in an array of different habitats, but usually inhabit rocky deserts like those in the Southwest and Mexico.

This has been the fifth confirmed sighting of ringtails in the entire state of Idaho, with the last couple of sightings happening near Twin Falls and the first sighting occurring in 1967, according to Fish and Game.

Staff at the sugar factory spotted the animal in early December 2021 and called it into Fish and Game. Within a few days, a wildlife biologist from the Magic Valley Regional set traps with the hope of relocating the animal to a more suitable habitat.

The ringtail was live-trapped within a week of setting the traps and taken to the Fish and Game regional office in Jerome.

Biological data and DNA were collected and the ringtail cat was tagged with a metal ear tag.

After a few hours of processing the animal, it was released south of Twin Falls into a more suitable ringtail habitat.

Fish and Game say once released, the ringtail scampered away from wildlife biologists to explore the landscape in its new home.

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