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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 16.6 years (captivity) Observations: In captivity, these animals can live up to 16.6 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Untitled

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The success of N. procyonoides is in part due to its great adaptability, high reproductive rate, tolerance of human presence, and opportunistic foraging behavior. Nyctos means "night" and ereuna means "seeking." Prokyon means "before dog" and eidos means "form." The species is not closely related to any other member of Canidae. It has the unusual characteristic of supernumerary chromosomes and shares homologous chromosomes with members of Felidae. For these reasons, the taxonomic position of N. procyonoides is not clear. Taxonomists recognize five to six subspecies of N. procyonoides.

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Nyctereutes procyonoides uses latrines to communicate with other members of the species. A latrine is a definite site where an entire group of raccoon dogs will both urinate and defecate. Research has suggested that raccoon dogs use the latrine for information exchange among family members as well strangers. The animals modify their behavior based on olfactory recognition of conspecific individuals when they encounter one another.

Raccoon dogs are vocal canids. However, they do not, like all other representatives of the order, bark. They may whine, whimper, or mew; these are all responses coupled with friendly or submissive behavior. They may growl when frightened or when being aggressive.

In addition to scent cues and vocal communication, these animals use some body postures--such as tail position--to indicate dominance and readiness to mate. Tactile communication if probably important between parents and offspring, as well as between mates.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Nyctereutes procyonoides is not an endangered species.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Raccoon dogs are capable of living in areas close to humans. They are often exterminated because they are carriers of diseases that can be trasmitted to humans and other animals. They are also killed for preying on small-game animals and other wildlife.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease); causes or carries domestic animal disease

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Japan, Finland, and the former U.S.S.R. benefit from the trading of the fur of N. procyonoides. Pelts are used for necklets, collars, and fur coats. In Japan, people eat raccoon dogs as well as use their fur for bristles for calligraphy brushes. The bones have also been used medicinally and as an aphrodisiac.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material; source of medicine or drug

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Raccoon dogs are an important food source for various larger canids as well as humans. They are also responsible for controlling insect and rodent populations, but, because they are generalists, they do not affect any one species on a large scale. Nyctereutes procyonoides is prone to infections including mange, rabies, piroplasmosis, and helminths.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Trematoda
  • Cestoidea
  • Nematoidea
  • Acanthocephala
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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Nyctereutes procyonoides is an opportunistic omnivore. On land, it hunts insects, small rodents, amphibians, birds, and eggs. It also fishes in lakes, rivers, and streams using its paws to scoop prey out of the water. It also dives underwater in search for its meal. In addition, raccoon dogs eat mollusks, snakes, and lizards; on the seashore, crabs, sea urchins, and sea carrion are also consumed.

Raccoon dogs also eat plant material— including stems, roots, leaves, bulbs, fruits, nuts berries, and seeds— according to the season and location. During the fall, they eat mainly vegetables, including a variety of fruits, wild berries, and seeds such as oats. In the winter, when food sources are limited, they may survive on human garbage and carrion. In Japan, raccoon dogs rely heavily on garbage, insects, fish, crabs, and plants such as buckthorn (Rhamnus), hornbeam (Carpinus), and a shrub (Aucuba japonica). In Finland, during the summers, they rely on small mammals (Mus musculus), plants, and amphibians; during the winter, they rely on carrion, small mammals, and plants.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; fish; eggs; carrion ; insects; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans; echinoderms

Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Nyctereutes procyonoides is native to eastern Siberia, northern China, North Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Between 1927 and 1957, the fur-farming industry introduced from 4,000 to 9,000 raccoon dogs to the European and Asian U.S.S.R. Today, N. procyonoides is widespread throughout northern and western Europe in countries including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, France, Austria, and Hungary.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Introduced , Native )

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Nyctereutes procyonoides is found in subarctic and subtropical climates. It prefers forest, forest borders, or dense vegetation— areas of thick underbrush, marshes, and reedbeds— for dense cover. Regions bordering water are also favored. Raccoon dogs are found from near sea level to greater than 3,000 m. Nyctereutes procyonoides also has been known to encroach upon human habitats while scavenging for food.

Range elevation: 0 to 3000 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; polar ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: taiga ; forest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; riparian

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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The lifespan of N. procyonoides in the wild is not known. In a study of trapped animals, the oldest males were in an age class of 5.5 years, and the oldest females were in an age clasee of 7.5 years. Of 320 raccoon dogs captured, 68.4% of the population was younger adults. In captivity, longevity can be greater than 14 years.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
7.5 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
>14 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
11.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
7.0 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
10.7 years.

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Nyctereutes procyonoides has the appearance of a small fox-like canid with the fur markings similar to those of raccoons (Procyon lotor). They have small heads (greatest length 133 mm) with pointed, low-profile rostra. The dental formula is i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 2 or 3/3, total 42 or 44. Raccoon dogs have reduced carnassials and relatively large molars. Height ranges from 38.1 to 50.8 cm. Length from head to rump is 50 to 68 cm with a tail length of 13 to 25 cm. Legs are short, and overall the body is stocky. Body weight ranges from 4 to 6 kg in the summer to 6 to 10 kg in the winter before hibernation. On average, individuals in Europe tend to be larger than those in China and Japan. The existence of several subspecies of N. procyonoides may account for this discrepancy. Mass of adult females in China and Japan is 0.5kg greater than males.

The fur of N. procyonoides is dense and soft. Markings on the head include a white muzzle, white face, and black fur surrounding the eyes. A black marking runs across both shoulders and down the back, forming the shape of a cross. Ears are rounded and short; black hair one the ears trims the white hair inside. Body color is dusky brown to yellow-brown dorsally but varies greatly. Long guard hairs, found throughout the dorsal side, are tipped black. On the belly, the fur is lighter brown or tan. Limbs and chest are blackish-brown. Raccoon dogs have thick, bushy tails that are black dorsally and light-yellow ventrally with a black tip. Winter pelage is thicker and darker than summer pelage.

Nyctereutes procyonoides goes through a molt in the summer between July and October. The winter pelage grows in during September, October, and November. Raccoon dogs also have a spring molt that begins in April when the underfur is shed. The summer coat is in by mid-June.

Range mass: 4 to 10 kg.

Range length: 50 to 68 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Not much is known about the antipredator adaptations of N. procyonoides. Wolves, lynx, wolverines, martens, golden eagles, sea eagles, eagle owls, and domestic dogs are all predators of this species. In the former U.S.S.R. and Finland, humans are also major predators of raccoon dogs. Raccoon dogs are used for commercial trapping and fur farming by humans. In Japan, raccoon dogs are also eaten by humans.

Known Predators:

  • gray wolves (Canis lupus)
  • Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
  • wolverines (Gulo gulo)
  • Japanese martens (Martes melampus)
  • golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • sae eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus)
  • Eurasian eagle owls (Bubo bubo)
  • domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
  • humans (Homo sapiens)
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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Not much is known about the mating behavior of N. procyonoides. Studies have shown that raccoon dogs form mating pairs from year to year, and monogamy among pairs has been reported in raccoon dogs found in Finland. In regions of home-range overlap, pairs do not interact. Polygamy has been reported in captive individuals.

During mating, females are courted by 3 to 4 males. There is little fighting among males for mates. In captivity, both scent marking and male-female interaction increased during proestrus. Pair bonds form before copulation and remain until after offspring have become independent. An inverted U-shaped tail posture in males is associated sexual arousal and expresses dominance. After pairs mate and the female gives birth, males and females spend a significant amount of time together raising the pups.

Mating System: monogamous ; polygynous

Females come into heat once a year, after hibernation. Data from raccoon dogs in captivity show that estrus lasts from 3 to 5 days. Copulation occurs at the end of the cold part of winter in January, February, or March, depending on geographic location. Copulation ties are an average of 6 minutes. Gestation period ranges from 59 to 64 days. Nyctereutes procyonoides usually gives birth in dense vegetation or in burrows that have been abandoned by foxes or badgers. Average litter size is 5 to 7, with the highest of 19 pups reported. Pups are born blind and have soft, black fur. Weight ranges from 60 to 115 g at birth depending on subspecies. Between the 9th and 10th day, pups' eyes open and teeth are visible by 14 to 16 days. Mothers wean their pups between 30 to 40 days of age. At this time, the typical face mask and the guard hairs are fully developed. Mass and size increase in a linear fashion until 50 to 60 days. Offspring are the size of small adults at 80 to 85 days of age. The offspring will reach sexual maturity at 9 to 11 months.

Breeding interval: Nyctereutes procyonoides breeds only once per year.

Breeding season: Mating in raccoon dogs occurs in January, February or March and coincides with early spring.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 19.

Average number of offspring: 6.33.

Range gestation period: 59 to 64 days.

Average gestation period: 61 days.

Range weaning age: 30 to 70 days.

Range time to independence: 4 to 5 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 9 to 11 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 9 to 11 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 75 g.

Average number of offspring: 6.

During late pregnancy, a female’s mate brings her food. After she gives birth, the male also has a role in postnatal care. The young are weaned at 30 to 40 days; the male typically watches over them while the female hunts for food. The male may also hunt while the female watches the young. At 4 months, the pups begin learning how to hunt by watching their parents. In a short time, they are self-supporting although they may remain with their parents, and hunt as a family, until the fall. At that point, they are independent. Between 9 to 11 months the offspring will have reached sexual maturity.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Male, Protecting: Male); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); post-independence association with parents

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Carr, K. 2004. "Nyctereutes procyonoides" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Nyctereutes_procyonoides.html
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Kelly Carr, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Raccoon dog

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The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides, from the Greek words nukt-, "night" + ereutēs, "wanderer" + prokuōn, "before-dog" [but in New Latin used to mean "raccoon"] + -oidēs, "similar to"), also known as the mangut (its Evenki name),[2] tanuki or neoguri, is a canid indigenous to East Asia. It is the only extant species in the genus Nyctereutes. Despite its name, its closest relatives are true foxes and not the American racoons.

Among the Canidae, the raccoon dog shares the habit of regularly climbing trees only with the North American gray fox, another basal species.[3][4][5][6]

The raccoon dog is named for its superficial resemblance to the raccoon (Procyon lotor), to which it is not closely related. In Japan, it is known as the tanuki and has a long history in folklore. In Sweden, where it is called mårdhund ("marten-dog"), and in Denmark, where it's called mårhund (same meaning), it has been treated as a potentially hazardous invasive species.[7].

Description

 src=
Raccoon dog skull.
 src=
Distinctly raccoon-like markings of the Japanese raccoon dog's face.

Raccoon dog skulls greatly resemble those of South American foxes, particularly crab-eating foxes, though genetic studies reveal they are not closely related.[4] Their skulls are small, but sturdily built and moderately elongated, with narrow zygomatic arches. The projections of the skull are well-developed, the sagittal crest being particularly prominent in old animals.

Reflecting their omnivorous diets, raccoon dogs have small and weak canines and carnassials, flat molars, and relatively long intestines – (1.5–2.0 times longer than other canids). They have long torsos and short legs. Total lengths can range from 45 to 71 cm (18 to 28 in). The tail, at 12 to 18 cm (4.7 to 7.1 in) long, is short, amounting to less than a third of the animal's total length and hangs below the tarsal joints without touching the ground. The ears are short and protrude only slightly from the fur.

Weights fluctuate according to season: in March they weigh 3 kg (6.6 lb), while in August to early September males average 6.5–7 kg (14–15 lb), with some individuals attaining a maximal weight of 9–10 kg (20–22 lb).[2] Specimens from Japanese and Russian studies have been shown to be on average larger than those from Chinese studies.[8]

The winter fur is long and thick with dense underfur and coarse guard hairs measuring 120 mm in length. The winter fur protects raccoon dogs from low temperatures ranging down to −20° to −25°C. It is of a dirty, earth-brown, or brownish-grey colour with black guard hairs. The tail is darker than the torso. A dark stripe is present on the back, which broadens on the shoulders, forming a cross shape. The abdomen is yellowish-brown, while the chest is dark brown or blackish. The muzzle is covered in short hair, which increases in length and quantity behind the eyes. The cheeks are coated with long, whiskery hairs. The summer fur is brighter and reddish straw-coloured.[2]

A rare, white color phase occurs in this species in Japan[9] and in China.[10]

Raccoon dogs exhibit a number of traits shared in common with other small carnivores which may be basal. Fur colouring, in particular the facial mask, bears some similarity to raccoons and a number of civets. Behavior also: Raccoon dogs are nocturnal, yet adjust their daily schedule and habits in response to local availability of food, similar to viverrids, ferrets, weasels, raccoons, and red pandas, to which raccoon dogs are not closely related.[11]

Ecology

Diet

Raccoon dogs are omnivores that feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks, carrion, and insectivores, as well as fruits, nuts, and berries.[12][13][14] Among the rodents targeted by raccoon dogs, voles seem to predominate in swampy areas, but are replaced with gerbils in flatland areas such as Astrakhan. Frogs are the most commonly taken amphibians; in the Voronezh region, they frequently eat fire-bellied toads, while European spadefoot toads are usually taken in Ukraine. Raccoon dogs are able to eat toads that have toxic skin secretions by producing copious amounts of saliva to dilute the toxins.[15] They prey on waterfowl, passerines, and migrating birds. Grouse are commonly hunted in their introduced range, and many instances of pheasant predation are recorded in the Ussuri territory.

Raccoon dogs eat beached fish and fish trapped in small water bodies. They rarely catch fish during the spawning season, but eat many during the spring thaw. In their southern range, they eat young tortoises and their eggs. Insectivorous mammals hunted by raccoon dogs include shrews and hedgehogs, and on rare occasions, moles and desmans. In the Ussuri territory, large moles are their primary source of food. Plant food is highly variable, and includes bulbs, rhizomes, oats, millets, maize, nuts, fruits, berries, grapes, melons, watermelons, pumpkins, and tomatoes.[2] In Japan, they have been observed to climb trees to forage for fruits and berries,[4][5] using their curved claws to climb.[6]

Raccoon dogs adapt their diets to the season; in late autumn and winter, they feed mostly on rodents, carrion, and feces, while fruit, insects, and amphibians predominate in spring. In summer, they eat fewer rodents, and mainly target nesting birds and fruits, grains, and vegetables.[2]

Predators

Wolves are the main predators of raccoon dogs, killing large numbers of them in spring and summer, though attacks have been reported in autumn, too. In Tatarstan, wolf predation can account for 55.6% of raccoon dog deaths, while in northwestern Russia, it amounts to 64%. Red foxes kill raccoon dog pups, and have been known to bite adults to death.

Both foxes and Eurasian badgers compete with raccoon dogs for food, and have been known to kill them if raccoon dogs enter their burrows. Eurasian lynxes rarely attack them. Birds of prey known to take raccoon dogs include golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, goshawks, and eagle owls.[2]

Behavior

Reproduction and development

The mating season begins from early February to late April, depending on location. Raccoon dogs are monogamous animals, with pair formations usually occurring in autumn. Captive males, however, have been known to mate with four or five females. Males will fight briefly, but not fatally, for mates.[2] Copulation occurs during the night or dawn and typically will last 6–9 minutes.[16] Estrus lasts from a few hours to six days, during which females may mate up to five times. Females enter estrus again after 20–24 days, even when pregnant.

The gestation period lasts 61–70 days, with pups being born in April–May. Litter sizes typically consist of 6–8 pups, though 15–16 pups can be born in exceptional cases. First-time mothers typically give birth to fewer pups than older ones. Males take an active role in raising the pups.[2] This male role is very significant, as demonstrated by early releases in 1928 of pregnant females without males, resulting in very limited success at introduction, while later releases of pairs from 1929 until the 1960s resulted in the raccoon dog's now-extensive introduced European range.[17]

 src=
Raccoon dog pup

At birth, pups weigh 60–110 g, and are blind and covered in short, dense, soft wool lacking guard hairs. Their eyes open after 9–10 days, with the teeth erupting after 14–16 days. Guard hairs begin to grow after 10 days, and first appear on the hips and shoulders. After two weeks, they lighten in colour, with black tones remaining only around the eyes. Lactation lasts for 45–60 days, though pups begin eating food brought to them as early as the age of three weeks to one month. They reach their full size at the age of 4.5 months. Pups leave their parents in late August–September. By October, the pups, which by then resemble adults, unite in pairs. Sexual maturity is reached at 8–10 months. Their longevity is largely unknown; animals 6–7 years of age have been encountered in the wild, while captive specimens have been known to live for 11 years.[2]

Hibernation

Raccoon dogs are the only canids known to hibernate. In early winter, they increase their subcutaneous fat by 18–23% and their internal fat by 3–5%. Animals failing to reach these fat levels usually do not survive the winter. During their hibernation, their metabolism decreases by 25%. In areas such as Primorsky Krai and their introduced range, raccoon dogs hibernate only during severe snowstorms. In December, their physical activity decreases once snow depth reaches 15–20 cm, and limit the range from their burrows to no more than 150–200 m. Their daily activities increase during February when the females become receptive and when food is more available.[2]

Vocalizations

Like foxes, they do not bark, uttering instead a growl, followed by a long-drawn, melancholy whine. Captive specimens have been known to utter daily a very different kind of sound when hungry, described as a sort of mewing plaint.[18] Males fighting for females may yelp and growl.[2] Japanese raccoon dogs produce sounds higher in pitch than those of domestic dogs, and sound similar to cats.[4]

Subspecies

As of 2005,[19] five subspecies are recognised by MSW3:

Expanded range and invasive species

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Asleep

From 1928–1958, 10,000 raccoon dogs of the N. p. ussuriensis subspecies were introduced in 76 districts, territories, and republics of the Soviet Union in an attempt to improve their fur quality. Primor'e in the Russian Far East was the first region to be colonised, with individuals being transplanted from islands in the Sea of Japan. By 1934, raccoon dogs were introduced into Altai, the northern Caucasus, Armenia, Kirgizia, Tatarstan, Kalinin, Penza, and Orenburg regions. In the following year, they were further introduced into Leningradsky, Murmansk, Novosibirsk, and Bashkortostan.

Raccoon dogs in Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Trans-Baikaliya, and Altai did not fare well, due to harsh winters and scarce food. Raccoon dogs also fared badly in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Moldova. However, successful introductions occurred in the Baltic states, European Russia (particularly in Kalinin, Novgorod, Pskov, and Smolensk regions), in central Russia (Moscow, Yaroslavl, Vologda, Gorkiy, Vladimir, Ryazan Oblasts, etc.) as well as in the black soil belt (Voronezh, Tambov and Kursk), the lower Volga Region and the level parts of the northern Caucasus and Dagestan. In Ukraine, the greatest numbers of raccoon dogs were established in Poltava, Kherson, and Lugansk.[2]

In 1948, 35 raccoon dogs were introduced into Latvia. The population increased rapidly. In 1960, Latvia officially reported a total of 4,210 raccoon dogs were hunted.[23]

The raccoon dog is now abundant throughout Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania, and has been reported as far away as Bulgaria,[24] Serbia, France, Poland, Czech Republic,[25] Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Belgium,[26] Netherlands,[27] Luxembourg, Italy,[4] Switzerland,[28] Germany,[29] Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.[7] In response, Denmark set a goal of zero breeding raccoon dogs by 2015.[30] However, by 2018 it had become fully established in Jutland (the mainland of Denmark, directly connected to Germany), with further projects mainly aimed at limiting or preventing its spread on the Danish islands.[31]

Diseases and parasites

Raccoon dogs carry 32 different parasitic worms, including eight trematode species, 17 species of nematodes, seven cestodes, and particularly Echinococcus. Six species of fleas are known to be carried by them, including Chaetopsylla trichosa, C. globiceps, Paraceras melis, Ctenocephalides felis, C. canis and Pulex irritans. Ticks include Dermacentor pictus, Ixodes ricinus, I. persulcatus, I. crenulatus, and Acarus siro.[2] The introduction of the raccoon dog to Europe is thought to have brought with it infected ticks that introduced the Asian tick-borne meningoencephalitis virus.[32]

Cases of raccoon dogs carrying rabies are known from the lower Volga, Voronezh, and Lithuania, and massive epizootics of piroplasmosis were recorded in Ukraine and Tartary. Canine distemper occurs in raccoon dogs inhabiting the northern Caucasus. Captive raccoon dogs in Soviet state animal farms were recorded to carry paratyphoid, anthrax, and tuberculosis. Although they can be infected with mange, it does not pose a significant threat to their populations as it does with foxes.[2]

Racoon dogs, as well as masked palm civets, were originally believed to be the natural reservoirs of the SARS Human Coronavirus. However genetic analysis has since convinced most experts that bats are the natural hosts.[33] Racoon dogs were most likely only transient accidental hosts.[34]

Relationships with humans

Game and crop damage

Raccoon dogs are harmful to game bird populations, particularly in floodlands and the shorelines of estuaries, where they feed almost exclusively on eggs and chicks during the spring period. Birds amount to 15–20% of their diets in Lithuania, 46% on the Oka River floodlands, and 48.6% in the Voronezh Reserve. They are also harmful to the muskrat trade, destroying their nests and eating their young. In Ukraine, raccoon dogs are harmful to kitchen gardens, melon cultivations, vineyards, and corn seedlings.[2]

Hunting

Raccoon dogs are typically hunted from November until the snow deepens. In the Far East, they are hunted at night using Laikas and mongrels. In the 19th century, the Goldi and Oroch people fastened bells to the collars of their raccoon dog hounds. In their introduced range, raccoon dogs are usually caught incidentally during hunts for other species. Hunting with dogs is the most efficient method in raccoon dog hunts, having success rates of 80–90%, as opposed to 8–10% with guns and 5–7% with traps. Unless they retreat in their burrows, hunted raccoon dogs can be quickly strangled by hunting dogs. Traps are usually set at their burrows, along the shores of water bodies, and around marshes and ponds.[2]

In Finland, 60,000–70,000 raccoon dogs were hunted in 2000, increasing to 170,000 in 2009 and 164,000 in 2010. Hunting of raccoon dogs in Hungary began in 1997, with an annual catch of one to nine animals. In Poland, 6,200 were shot in 2002–2003. Annual Swedish and Danish raccoon dog hunts usually result in the capture of two to seven individuals. Between 18,000 and 70,000 Japanese raccoon dogs were killed in Japan from the post-WWII period to 1982. Japan intensified its raccoon dog culling starting in the 1970s, averaging 4,529 kills annually between 1990 and 1998. The numbers killed have since decreased.[4]

Fur use

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A caged raccoon dog
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Chinese raccoon dog pelts on sale in Milan, Italy

When used on clothing, the fur of the raccoon dog is called "murmansky" fur. In the United States, it is marketed as "Asiatic raccoon", and in Northern Europe as "Finn raccoon".[35] Generally, the quality of the pelt is based on the silkiness of the fur, as its physical appeal depends upon the guard hairs being erect, which is only possible in silkier furs. Small raccoon dog pelts with silky fur command higher prices than large, coarse-furred ones. Due to their long and coarse guard hairs and their woolly fur fibre, which has a tendency to felt or mat, raccoon dog pelts are used almost exclusively for fur trimmings. Japanese raccoon dog pelts, though smaller than other geographic variants, are the most valued variety, with specimens from Amur and Heilongjiang coming close behind, while Korean and southern Chinese are the least valued.[20] When raised in captivity, raccoon dogs can produce 100 g of wool of slightly lesser quality than that of goats.[2]

In the Japanese islands, the natives employed raccoon dog skin to make bellows, to decorate their drums, and for winter headgear.[18] Russian trade in raccoon dogs was quite developed in the Primorye and Ussuri areas in the 1880s. The world trade of raccoon dog pelts during 1907–1910 amounted to 260,000–300,000, of which an estimated 20,000 (5–8%) came from Russia, though more recent figures estimate a lesser number of 5,000–6,000; 12,000 raccoon dogs were caught in the 1930s. In their introduced range, licensed trade of raccoon dogs began in 1948–1950, with restrictions being removed in 1953–1955.

After the trade began, the number of catches increased sharply; from 1953–1961, it fluctuated between 30,000 and 70,000. In the latter year, about 10,000 were taken from their natural range in the Far East, while 56,000 were taken in their introduced range. Of the 56,000, 6,500 came from Belarus, 5,000 in Ukraine, 4,000 each for Latvia, Lithuania, and Krasnodar, 3,700 in Kalinin, 2,700 in Pskov, and 2,300 in Astrakhan, while 1,000–2,000 pelts each were produced in Vologod, Moscow, Leningrad, Novogrod, Smolensk, Yaroslavl, Azerbaijan, Estonia, and Dagestan. Fewer than 1,000 pelts were produced in all remaining republics and districts. Successful raccoon dog introductions in Kalinin resulted in animals with denser and softer fur: The length of guard and top hairs increased by 7.96%, that of the underfur increased by 5.3%. The thickness of the guard and top hairs decreased by 3.41%. The density of the fur increased by 11.3%. They also became darker in colour, with black-brown pelts occurring in 8% of specimens, as opposed to 3% in their homeland.[2]

Captive breeding of raccoon dogs was initiated in 1928 in the Far East, with 15 state farms keeping them in 1934. Raccoon dogs were the principal furbearers farmed during the early years of collective farms, particularly in Ukraine. By the 1940s, this practice lessened in popularity, as the raccoon dogs required almost the same types of food as silver foxes, which were more valuable.[2] An investigation by three animal protection groups into the Chinese fur trade in 2004 and part of 2005 asserts approximately 1.5 million raccoon dogs are raised for fur in China.[36] The raccoon dog comprises 11% of all animals hunted in Japan.[37] Twenty percent of domestically produced fur in Russia is from the raccoon dog.[38]

Misrepresentation as artificial fur

In several widely publicized incidents, clothing advertised and sold as having synthetic faux fur, were documented as actually containing real fur from raccoon dogs.

On 22 Dec 2006, MSNBC reported Macy's had pulled from its shelves and its website two styles of Sean John hooded jackets, originally advertised as featuring faux fur, after an investigation concluded garments were actually made from raccoon dog.[39] Sean Combs, the label's founder, said he had been unaware of the material, but as soon as he knew about it, he had his clothing line stop using the material.

On 24 April 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a false-advertising complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging at least 20 retailers in the U.S. had been mislabeling raccoon dog fur. They assert 70% of fur garments they tested were raccoon dog, but were mislabeled as faux fur, coyote, rabbit, or other animals.[40] In December 2009 Lord & Taylor announced new regulations banning the sale of raccoon dog fur in its stores.[41]

On 19 March 2013, three U.S. retailers settled lawsuits with the U.S. government following an investigation that confirmed they had been selling raccoon dog fur, but labeling it as fake (‘faux’) fur. Neiman Marcus, DrJays.com, and Eminent (Revolve Clothing) reached settlements with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that do not incur financial penalties unless they mislabel the fur again.[42][43]

On 19 September 2014, the HSUS announced Kohls had been selling raccoon dog fur as faux fur.[44]

Folklore

In Japanese mythology, the raccoon dog or Tanuki, is known to be a shapeshifter, along with the fox, the badger, and other animals. Its role as a shapeshifter in Chinese mythology is rare or almost unheard of.

References

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  14. ^ Sasaki, H., & Kawabata, M. (1994). Food habits of the raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus in a mountainous area of Japan. Journal of the Mammalogical Society of Japan, 19(1), 1-8.
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  18. ^ a b Charles Hamilton Smith & William Jardine (1839). "The natural history of dogs : canidae or genus canis of authors ; including also the genera hyaena and proteles" (PDF). Edinburgh: W.H. Lizars. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  19. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  20. ^ a b Bachrach, Max. (1953). Fur: a practical treatise, 3rd ed. New York: Prentice-Hall.
  21. ^ Kauhala, Kaarina (1994). "The Raccoon Dog: a successful canid". Canid News. 2: 37–40. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  22. ^ Nie, Wenhui; Jinhuan Wang; Polina Perelman; Alexander S. Graphodatsky; Fengtang Yang (November 2003). "Comparative chromosome painting defines the karyotypic relationships among the domestic dog, Chinese raccoon dog and Japanese raccoon dog". Chromosome Research. 11 (8): 735–740. doi:10.1023/B:CHRO.0000005760.03266.29. PMID 14712859.
  23. ^ Miervaldis Bušs, Jānis Vanags (1987). "Medību saimniecība". Latvijas Meži. Latvia.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  24. ^ Doycheva, V.; Angelov, I.; Popivanov, I.; Doychinova, T.; Shalamanov, D. (2015). "Състояние и перспективи за контрола на лайшманиозата (p.10)" [Current status and perspectives for control of leishmaniasis] (PDF) (in Bulgarian). Български медицински журнал (Bulgarian medical journal), Issue 9, No. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-14.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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  33. ^ Paules, Catherine I.; Marston, Hillary D.; Fauci, Anthony S. (January 23, 2020). "Coronavirus Infections -- More than Just the Common Cold". JAMA. 323 (8). doi:10.1001/jama.2020.0757. PMID 31971553.
  34. ^ Chan, P.K.; Chan, M.C. (August 5, 2013). "Tracing the SARS-coronavirus". J Thorac Dis. 5 Suppl 2: S118-21. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2013.06.19. PMC 3747522. PMID 23977431.
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  36. ^ Hsieh-Yi, Yi-Chiao, Yu Fu, Mark Rissi and Dr Barbara Maas Fun Fur? A report on the Chinese fur industry Archived 2006-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. Careforthewild.com
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  39. ^ "Sean John jackets were made with dog fur - US business | NBC News". nbcnews.com. 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  40. ^ "Investigation Shows Raccoon Dog Most Misrepresented Fur in America". The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  41. ^ Donnelly, Erin (2009-12-03). "Lord & Taylor Bans Raccoon Dog Fur". StyleList. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  42. ^ "Real fur, masquerading as 'faux'". Cnbc.com. 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  43. ^ "A faux faux fur kerfuffle at Nieman Marcus". Marketplace.org. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
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Raccoon dog: Brief Summary

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The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides, from the Greek words nukt-, "night" + ereutēs, "wanderer" + prokuōn, "before-dog" [but in New Latin used to mean "raccoon"] + -oidēs, "similar to"), also known as the mangut (its Evenki name), tanuki or neoguri, is a canid indigenous to East Asia. It is the only extant species in the genus Nyctereutes. Despite its name, its closest relatives are true foxes and not the American racoons.

Among the Canidae, the raccoon dog shares the habit of regularly climbing trees only with the North American gray fox, another basal species.

The raccoon dog is named for its superficial resemblance to the raccoon (Procyon lotor), to which it is not closely related. In Japan, it is known as the tanuki and has a long history in folklore. In Sweden, where it is called mårdhund ("marten-dog"), and in Denmark, where it's called mårhund (same meaning), it has been treated as a potentially hazardous invasive species..

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