Rarely seen ring-tailed cat spotted in Uvalde County

UVALDE COUNTY, Texas – A rarely sighted ring-tailed cat was spotted this week in Uvalde County.

"Occasionally, you get to see something pretty interesting," said Geary Schindel, who spotted the mammal.

As the chief technical officer for the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Schindel's job often takes him to remote areas.  While he has seen plenty of rare wildlife, this is the first time he has ever spotted a ring-tailed cat, or ringtail, in the wild.

"It crawled out from underneath a ledge," said Schindel.

A ring-tailed cat is not a cat, despite its name. It is actually more closely related to the raccoon family. 

Schindel and those with him said they were surprised, but were able to snap some photos with a telephoto lens. The pictures were taken along the Sabinal River in Uvalde County.

"It was overcast that day and I think he might have been hungry, because he spent some time foraging," said Schindel.

Ringtails are native across the country's south and southwest regions, including across the entire state of Texas.

"They're very common around here," said Melody Forshey, senior mammals keeper at the San Antonio Zoo.

Forshey also added that they are more apt to venture out during the spring.

So why are there not more sightings in San Antonio?

"It's mostly because they're nocturnal, so you don't see them out running around during the day," she said.

Visitors to the San Antonio Zoo can catch a glimpse of two ringtails in the mammals' exhibit.

Meanwhile, seeing one in the wild remains rare, making the recent pictures an amazing feat. 

Photos courtesy: Phillip Bedford, Green Space Alliance

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