CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – An unusually friendly ringtail caused park officials to shut down the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the normally shy, nocturnal animal was approaching visitors near the cave entrance around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Carlsbad Caverns Public Affairs Specialist Valerie Gohlke says officials felt it would be best to close the natural entrance until the ringtail moved on.
She says the animal was captured Wednesday afternoon and will be examined by a veterinarian.
Gohlke says ringtails are commonly seen around the cave entrance but she’s never heard of one behaving this way.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum says the ringtail is closely related to the raccoon.