Den site selection of ringtails (Bassariscus Astutus) in West Central Texas




Tiedt, Andrew R.

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Research was conducted to determine ringtails (Bassariscus astutus) den site preferences in west central Texas. From August 2008 ‐ November 2009, 13 ringtails (8 females; 5 males) were captured and radio‐collared in Tom Green and Irion Counties, Texas. Ringtails were found using owl nest boxes and natural dens at the study site. Two hundred and eighty‐six dens were located, of which 105 were unique. Thirtyseven instances of den site co‐occupancy by multiple ringtails were recorded. Dataloggers were used to characterize thermal profiles of known dens and controls from October 2008 – October 2009. Den selection for male and female ringtails revealed nest box preference more frequently in the winter (80%) followed by spring (77%), fall (67%), and summer (30%). Den types (nest boxes, below‐ground dens, above‐ground dens) selected were significantly different (χ2=45.3, df=6, P<0.000). Seasonal den type selection was significant for female (χ2=37.0, df=6, P<0.000) and male ringtails (χ2=22.5, df=6, P<0.001).



Bassariscus astutus, Nest box, Den selection, ringtails