The Cacomixtle is key in the maintenance of the ecosystems in which it lives since it controls pests and favors the growth of plants.
This is a mammal that could easily be confused with a feline, however, it is not. It is precisely because of this incredible resemblance that its name, of Nahuatl origin, alludes to this characteristic: “Tlacomiztli” (half feline).
This small animal with nocturnal habits has learned to live among human beings, without being a product of domestication, since, in some places, urbanization has reached its habitat. This is what we know.
The first to describe the cacomixtle was the American, Elliott Coues. This was in 1887. Said author also proposed the term «bassarisk» to group the animals of this genus. The distribution of this mammal ranges from some states in the southern United States to the tropical forests of Central America. Two types can be found in Mexico: (Bassariscus sumichrasti and Bassariscus astutus)
As already mentioned, the cacomixtle is a small mammal. Its body can reach 40 centimeters, while its tail, by itself, is slightly longer due to the fact that it reaches almost half a meter. This animal is normally brown, with a white belly and its tail is characterized by the black rings that are distributed along it.
Cacomixtles are also notable for their large eyes, which are surrounded by lighter fur. It is not usual for these animals to weigh more than a kilo and a half. Under the right conditions, these mammals can live up to seven years.
Something that distinguishes the cacomixtles is their ability to climb trees. To carry out this skill, these mammals use the balance that their tail gives them. Additionally, they have the ability to rotate your ankle more than 180 degrees. This ability makes them quite agile.
Much of the time, the cacomixtle is in the trees. It is there, especially at night, that it feeds on fruits, insects, rodents, and small reptiles. On the other side, it is prey to coyotes, owls, raccoons, and bobcats.
The behavior of the cacomixtles is that of a solitary animal. Most of the time, as was said, it is in the trees and in its burrows. It is only during reproductive periods that these mammals come together. Gestation occurs between 45 and 50 days. Per litter, there can be from 2 to 4 individuals.
This mammal also plays an important role in preserving the ecosystems in which it lives. By feeding on fruits, the seeds, which are not destroyed in the digestive process, return to the earth, and with this, in the right conditions, nature regenerates. In addition, the cacomixtles, due to their diet, are pest controllers that, in their absence, would diminish the vegetation.