Raccoon Dog (Carnivora: Canidae: Nyctereutes procyonoides)
Often mistaken for a badger or a raccoon, the raccoon dog is actually more closely related to wild dogs. That being said, they act more like raccoons as they scavenge for berries along riverbanks. Raccoon dogs are often hunted as pests. Their luck in the illegal fur trade is no better, often attracting the attention of animal welfare groups. Their adaptability in the wild allows them to quickly become an unwelcome invasive species out of Asia. However, this sneaky trickster is well honoured in Japanese folklore as a master of disguise. Raccoon dog, or “Tanuki”, figurines are often places outside of Buddhist to bring good fortune by showing off a friendly smile.
Raccoon dogs look very similar to raccoons but have no genetic similarities between them. They belong to the Canidae family, which are known to have distinct dog and wolf like characteristics and appearance. These animals are both carnivorous and omnivorous mammals.
They are monogamous and will mate for life. It is only if the mate dies or is killed, will the other search for a new mate. Two mates will hibernate in one den. During this period they will maintain close body contact to keep each other warm and will groom each other as well. This is a trait not practiced by canines, as dogs neither hibernate and nor are they monogamous in nature.