Ringtails have a long tail with alternating bands of white and black fur. They have large eyes surrounded by white rings of fur, large rounded ears, short legs and a long grayish colored body. They are excellent climbers capable of ascending vertical walls, trees, rocky cliffs and even cacti. They can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees, giving them a good grip for descending those same features. They have excellent eyesight as well as hearing, both helpful adaptations for a nocturnal animal.

Range:  Mexico, north to California and Oregon and throughout the American Southwest to Texas and northeast to Oklahoma and Kansas

Life Cycle/ Social Structure Ringtails are nocturnal and solitary, except during mating season. Ringtails make dens in rock crevices, lining them with moss, leaves or grass.


Fishers have short, stubby legs; a wedge-shaped head; and dark brown luxuriant fur grading to brownish underbelly. They have several white patches around neck and throat. Though they look similar, males are much larger than females. They have well develop anal scent glands.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure: being most active at dawn and dusk. They are active year-round. Fishers are solitary, associating with other fishers only for mating purposes. Males become more active during mating season. Females are least active during pregnancy and gradually increase activity after birth of their kits.

A fisher’s are always on the move, a male fishers territory can be up to 150 square miles. Male and female fishers have overlapping territories. This behavior is imposed on females by males due to dominance in size and a male desire to increase mating success.

Once extirpated in Pennsylvania through trapping, fishers have been reintroduced and are doing well in the state.

North American Porcupine

The North American Porcupine is covered in quills except the snout, throat, belly and feet pads. While the porcupine does not throw quills, the flailing muscular tail and powerful body thrust may help impel quills deeply into attackers.

Range:  Spans across various regions of North America, including most of Canada, the Northeast and Western United States, and into Northern Mexico.

Habitat: Typically inhabit coniferous and mixed forest areas but have also adapted to live in scrub lands, tundra, and desert regions.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure: Porcupines are generally solitary in nature, although groups up to a dozen may gather at certain nocturnal feeding sites during summer and early autumn. Numerous porcupines may share a den on a rotating basis, and several may share a winter den at the same time. During autumn breeding season, a number of males are found around adult females in estrus. During the summer, the nocturnal porcupine often spends the day resting safely in trees.

Interesting Facts:

North American Porcupines have over 30,000 quills.