The Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
The Raccoon dog aka Tanuki is the only living species of its genus. It’s believed to be an ancestral form of canid. They are mostly nocturnal and enjoy climbing trees.
Raccoon dogs are the only canids known to hibernate. They are omnivorous and will eat almost any insect or animal they can catch or come by. They even eat toxic frogs!
Sadly, like many of their canine cousins (foxes), many sub-species are hunted for their silky pelts. Hunting pressures have caused their rapid decline in East asia but their numbers appear to be growing in many North European and Eurasian countries.
Look at this cute and rare raccoon dog sporting his white coat. I will call him, Falcor.
They have a rather calm and gentle nature when interacting with most humans; however, they are still wild animals and should be respected as such. Though most nature experts and animal behaviorists argue against it, they are often kept as pets. Though they are canids, Wolves and German Shepherds have more in common than both have to Tanukis. They can live up to 11 years in captivity, numbers in the wild are uncertain.
Check out this curious Tanuki visiting his gracious neighbor. Very raccoon like!