Common ringtail

Pseudocheirus peregrinus

TAXONOMY

Pseudocheirus peregrinus (Boddaert, 1785), Queensland, Australia. Five subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Tasmanian ringtail, western ringtail, rufous ringtail; French: Ringtail commun; German: Gewöhnlicher Ringbeutler.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 23.6-27.6 in (60-70 cm), weight 24.7-38.8 oz (700-1,100 g). Gray-brown fur with light underside. Tail is long and thin; end half is pale color.

DISTRIBUTION

Southwestern Australia coastal areas along eastern coast from Cape York to Southern Australia; Tasmania and Bass Strait islands.

HABITAT

All types of vegetation with dense shrubs and understory, from heathland to rainforest.

BEHAVIOR

Noctural (mostly before midnight), building large nests from twigs and leaves (dreys), often several members of a family group building nests immediatly next to each other, or nesting together. Living in pairs or groups. Males take part in care of the young.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Leaves, fruits and flowers are eaten. Common ringtails can detoxify eucalypts. Coprophagy of cecum contents is common.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Normally two young are born, between April and November. They leave the pouch within 120 days, are weaned at about 180 days and sexually mature within 12 months. Mating system is not known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Suburban individuals can be a minor nuisance to gardeners by eating flowers, buds etc of ornamental plants (e.g., roses). ♦

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