Raccoon dog

He is a wild animal

Origin
Europe
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
The possession of this animal is not authorized Royal Decree establishing the list of mammals not kept for production purposes that may be kept (M.B. 24.08.2009)
The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) is also called Wasbeerhond by the Dutch, which literally means "raccoon dog". It is also known by the Japanese name Tanuki.

The raccoon dog is a species of carnivorous mammal that resembles a raccoon, but belongs to the canid family and is the only member of this family to hibernate. It is the only current species of the Nyctereutes genus.

This stocky canid is more of a food opportunist than a true predator. Carrion, eggs, insects, fledglings, snails, small rodents, frogs and even toads, to whose venom it seems to be resistant, make up the bulk of its diet, enriched, however, with a few berry- and mushroom-like plants. In autumn, the raccoon's weight increases considerably to enable it to build up reserves for hibernation. However, hibernation is not systematic, since it depends on the temperature. If it doesn't fall below -5°C, they may remain active or go to sleep for just a few days. Predominantly nocturnal, they are rather discreet and solitary animals, with no social structure as elaborate as in other canids, although some individuals appreciate the presence of their congeners.

Originally from East Asia, the raccoon dog was intensively bred for its fur in Europe and Russia, particularly during the 20th century. Specimens escaped or were introduced to increase production and have since formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable as it is considered a nuisance and invasive species.

The raccoon dog is a long-bodied canine with short legs and a thick coat of long, silky hair. In adults, head and body length vary from 80 to 110 cm, to which must be added a tail of 15 to 25 cm. Height at the withers is around 35 to 40 cm. The raccoon dog is the only canid with a dark facial mask. It resembles the raccoon and wolf in silhouette, facial mask and long hair. However, its face mask is interrupted at the nose, whereas it is continuous in the raccoon, and its short tail is plain in color, unlike the raccoon, whose tail is long and ringed. Weight varies according to sex, age and season, from 4-6 kg in summer to 6-10 kg in winter. There is also a raccoon cat.

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