Wednesday, January 12, 2011

THE CULPRIT

There was a surprise waiting for us this morning; The American Ring-tailed cat, Bassariscus astutus astutus, found the tempting treats of apple, asparagus and parsley I left in the Havahart trap. On this basis I am going to say that he is the guilty party, despite the fact that by all accounts he is more of a carnivore, enjoying a meal of mice, crickets etc. Some years ago we came home at night to find one perched on the ledge outside our kitchen. I think he had been eating pyracantha berries.
It was very cold last night and I have no idea how long he was in the trap so I feel a little guilty. However he was pretty feisty, hissing at me when I approached. I covered the trap with a thick blanket and took the trap into the greenhouse, where a small heater had been running overnight. When he has warmed up a little he will be free to go.

13 comments:

  1. I hate to say it, but he's soooo cute!

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  2. Wow...a ringtail cat! I have only seen one or two hiking near me, never in the yard, or eating it (or so I think). Basically a small raccoon.

    They and a few Coatimundi are seen in the lower mountains here, slightly larger than a ringtail.

    I hear javelina are worse, but they have not come into town, yet.

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  3. Oh, I agree with NSARH - he is cute...the only time I've seen one is on the cliffs along Lake Travis. I must say he was probably charmed by your beautiful garden. I know I am ;)

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  4. What a cute little thing...never would have guessed he is a cat!!! I thought a cross between an opossum and a rat! LOLOL. Glad you found your culprit!!

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  5. NASR- He does have a sweet face but I'll bet he would bite if given the chance.
    Desert Dweller-As they are nocturnal, they are rarely seen. I was really surprised to see him. We have a lot fo night prowlers around here.
    The Whimsical Gardener- Well he may be but he isn't welcome. He ate all my broccoli.
    Julie- I don't know why they call him a cat. I think civet cat is one misnomer. He certainly was a healthy specimen- all those vegs.

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  6. Wow! Now I am really wondering what part of Austin has so many creatures. Are next to a wilderness area? Deer, foxes, and now a ring-tail cat. I was guessing a common rabbit, so I'm really amazed. Maybe I skimmed and missed this part, but what are you going to do with it now? Will it tell all its friends to stay away from your garden now? LOL David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

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  7. I'll bet your were surprised to find that! He is beautiful.

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  8. David- We live about 7 miles from the city where there are lots of critters. I saw a coyote walking down the street the other day- in broad daylight. We relocated him to a wilderness area but he just may find his way home.
    Sweetbay- Yes he is quite lovely but not welcome if he strays from his diet of mice and crickets.

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  9. That is wild! I have never seen nor heard of one of those. I agree with the other posts though- he is really cute. Hate to say it!
    K

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  10. He is a night stalker so very rarely seen. He should have been home in bed at 9am. Naughty boy!

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  11. That just might be your culprit. Although they will eat some meat they really like berries and seeds like Hackberry seeds, Possumhaw berries and wild grapes. We have had animal rescue release a couple here at the house. Just after one release I saw one running down the fence with a plum in his mouth. I don't imagine he ate too many though.

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  12. That's really neat, Jenny. I've never seen that critter before, and it's certainly beautiful. Looks a bit like a weasel to me.

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  13. Very cool, Jenny! Ringtails visited our decks a few times when we lived in a hillier part of Austin but we never caught a photo. We'd never heard of this little raccoon relative and had to hunt through a wildlife book to ID them.

    Wonder if you could train them to munch up those hispid cotton rats that plague your garden?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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