Raccoon Dog Facts
- Most notably, the remarkable Raccoon Dog forms a remarkable species of canid. It’s also endemic to a moderately restricted range of habitation. However, the unique animal also sometimes goes by several other common names.
- These include the tanuki, the mangut, and the neoguri. However, the animal also has the extremely cumbersome scientific name of Nyctereutes procyonoides. This animal also apparently remains the only known extant species within its genus.
- Despite the name, it has no relationship with the raccoon in any way. But, the name understandably derives from the physical resemblance to the raccoon. Experts also consider it to be a basal species. Sadly, its numbers appear to be declining rapidly.
- In addition to the effects of human expansion, the Raccoon Dog also faces several other threats. One of these come from hunters who seek its fur. The highly unique animal species was also introduced into central and western Europe.
- There, the animal remains considered by many people to be an invasive species. Nevertheless, it also now faces the dual threats posed by persistent habitat loss, and, of course, the ongoing effects of the great danger of climate change.
Raccoon Dog Physical Description
Mature adult individuals of the amazing Raccoon Dog average roughly 28 in (71 cm) in total length. This measurement does include the tail, however. In point of fact, the impressive tail of the mammal typically accounts for about 7 in (18 cm) of this length.
Furthermore, this remarkable mammal displays no noticeable degree of the trait of sexual dimorphism. It does share one particular characteristic with many other species, though. That’s the fact that its weight also varies greatly by season.
In the month of March, the animal only averages around 6.6 lb (3 kg ) in weight. Yet, quite amazingly, by August this average increases to roughly 15.4 lb (7 kg). While the principle itself remains fairly common, this degree of change isn’t.
The torsos of both genders grow long, and the legs stay relatively short. Its coloring varies with each individual, and also with the seasons. The Raccoon Dog typically appears darker in winter, and lighter in summer. Strangely, during the summer, its fur actually becomes thicker.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Canidae
- Genus: Nyctereutes
- Species: N. procyonoides
Raccoon Dog Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Unfortunately, the Raccoon Dog evolved as native to a limited section of the eastern portion of Asia. But, even within that range, it has very specific habitat requirements. More precisely, it typically inhabits regions of forest, although it has proven to be highly adaptable in recent years.
The animal also has an omnivorous diet. It mainly feeds on a variety of prey. These include amphibians, insects, rodents, fish, birds, and reptiles. Individuals also feed on carrion when it’s present. The plants it feeds on depends on its precise geographical zone of habitation.
The Raccoon Dog also lives as a monogamous animal. Males often fight for the females, yet such battles rarely become fatal. Litters generally number 6-7 pups, but as many as 15-16 do occur. Males typically remain active participants in rearing and providing for the young.