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Raccoon Dog

From Academic Kids

Raccoon Dog
Conservation status: Lower risk
Two raccoon dogs
Two raccoon dogs
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Canidae
Genus:Nyctereutes
Species:N. procyonoides
Binomial name
Nyctereutes procyonoides
(Gray, 1834)

The Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) is a member of the canid family and is considered to be a species of dog although it is often confused with raccoons and badgers. It is the only species in its genus Nyctereutes. The animal is also known under the Japanese name tanuki, タヌキ, where it carries historical and cultural significance (see the tanuki entry for more information).

Raccoon Dogs are native to Japan, southeastern Siberia, and Manchuria but now range as far as Scandinavia and France. Average adult head and body length is about 65 cm (2 ft) and weight ranges from 4 to 10 kg (9 to 22 lb). Average litters consist of 5 pups. Longevity is 3-4 years in the wild and 11 years in captivity. They are found in both plains and mountainous regions and are especially common in woodlands. Raccoon dogs are commonly seen near villages and in rural areas.

Like other canines, they are omnivorous. However, their diets are atypically diverse, consisting of invertebrates, frogs, lizards, rodents and birds along with seeds and berries. Those living near the ocean will also eat crabs and scavenged marine life. In cold season they hibernate, having fattened themselves during the autumn, not unlike bears.

Raccoon dog populations have declined in recent years due to hunting, urbanization, an increase of animals associated with human civilization such as pets and abandoned animals, and diseases that may be transmitted between them.

Raccoon dogs are secretive and not very aggressive; generally hiding or screaming rather than fighting. They are monogamous; some fights occur between males for the females.

There is some debate in the scientific community at present regarding speciation between the Siberian (N. p. ussuriensis) and Chinese subspecies (N. p. procyonoides) and the Japanese raccoon dog subspecies (N. p. viverrinus) in that due to chromosome, behavioral and weight differences, the Japanese raccoon dog should be considered a separate species from the two other subspecies.

External Links

  • World Conservation Union (http://www.canids.org/PUBLICAT/CNDNEWS2/racoondg.htm) - article on raccoon dogs
  • America Zoo (http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/mammals/251.htm) - basic info, one image
  • Lioncrusher's Domain (http://www.lioncrusher.com/animal.asp?animal=25) - detailed information, image
  • canids.org (http://www.canids.org/SPPACCTS/raccoond.htm) - technical and conservation information
  • Lauri Sippu's page (http://homepage.mac.com/lsippu/PhotoAlbum22.html) - many images
  • Skulls unlimited (http://www.skullsunlimited.com/raccoon_dog_skull.html) - raccoon dog skull image, purchase
  • BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/156.shtml) - very basic information with images
  • Animal Planet (http://animal.discovery.com/guides/mammals/habitat/tempforest/raccoondog.html) - basic information, image
  • Foundation TV's "Brilliant Creatures" (http://www.foundationtv.co.uk/brilliantcreatures/ser5/show2item1.html) - a pair of on-camera raccoon dogsbg:Енотовидно куче

da:Mrhund de:Marderhund es:Tanuki eo:Niktereŭto fr:Chien viverrin he:שועל ראקון nl:Wasbeerhond ja:タヌキ pl:Jenot ru:Енотовидная собака fi:Supikoira

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