Bengal Tiger vs Ringtail Cat

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

bengal tiger vs ringtail cat

Bengal tigers and ringtail cats are frequently compared due to their formidable hunting skills and cat-like appearances, but between these two species, only Bengal tigers are felines.

Ringtail cats relate more closely to the racoon family, and you can easily differentiate a Bengal tiger vs. ringtail cat through their very distinct physical appearances. Furthermore, they have very different habitats, diets, and behaviors.

But do not confuse them with the domestic cats we know. Their behavior and diet are not something that we can safely keep at home!

Understanding the Species: Bengal Tiger vs. Ringtail Cat

The Bengal tiger and ringtail cats are wildlife species found in different areas of the world. To understand them, let us look into them based on these criteria:

1. Size and Physical Prowess


  • Bassariscus astutus, or what we commonly call the ringtail cat, is part of the raccoon family. They are called ringtails due to their long tail with ringed stripes all over them.

If you have not seen a ringtail cat before, you will be surprised at how small it is! For an omnivore living in the wild, this racoon only weighs up to 3 pounds, and its body’s length is just around 17 inches.

But this size gives ringtails the agility they need to forage by climbing.

  • On the other hand, the Panthera tigris tigris, or the Bengal tiger, is a larger cat species. Its size can reach up to 6 to 7 feet from the head to the body. Plus, this hunter cat can weigh anywhere between 240 to 500 pounds.

A Bengal tiger has the iconic yellow and light orange fur with black or dark brown stripes running all over its body. Their tails usually contain the same orange-with-black-rings pattern.

Because of the size and fierceness of a Bengal tiger, we can assume they are among the strongest cats in the wild!

2. Distribution and Habitat


Ringtail cats are mostly found around in the southwest of the US and some areas of Mexico. These racoons can thrive in many habitats. However, they prefer to be somewhere rocky like canyons or slopes and semi-arid areas.

Meanwhile, Bengal tigers are also called Indian tigers because they live in India and are an important part of the country’s lore and tradition. Now, you can see Bengal tigers in zoos and sanctuaries almost anywhere in the world, such as in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and China.

They prefer hot and humid forests, typically tropical and subtropical ones, plus grasslands and wetlands.

3. Behavior and Hunting Technique


Are ringtail cats dangerous? Based on their behavior in the wild, they may not be the most fearsome species that you can encounter. These racoons will avoid human contact, though it’s best not to threaten or touch them, or they will attack you in self defense.

Ringtail cats are nocturnal and find their food in the dark.

The physique of ringtails helps them hunt their prey and balance as they climb. Moreover, they have short and semi-retractable claws that are perfect for climbing.

Ringtails are omnivorous and prefer to eat rodents, rabbits, or insects. After the hunt, ringtails would groom themselves like a house cat!

Bengal tigers are also nocturnal hunters but with a lot more power than the ringtail cats. They sneak on their prey in the dark and attack them with a lethal hit.

Who would win in a fight between these two cats? The Bengal tiger is more ferocious and aggressive than the ringtails, with a much stronger bite force.

Though humans generally need not fear being hunted by Bengal tigers, if these felines can’t find traditional food sources in their habitat (such as pigs and buffalos), they may choose to eat humans!


The Bengal tiger vs. ringtail cat comparison surely yields more differences than similarities. Both of them may be nocturnal, but the Bengal tiger has a more ferocious stalk-and-ambush method in obtaining their prey.

Plus, the Bengal tiger is a lot larger than the ringtail! It would be nearly impossible to confuse the two based on their physical appearances.

And the ringtail cat is made to climb with their sharp claws and long tails. On the other hand, the Bengal tiger is built to camouflage in the wild and keep an eye on their prey.

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