Jun 25, 2012

Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)


Did you know?

That raccoon dogs are the only members of the canid family to go into dormancy during the winter? Lethargy means an idle stage, so that the body temperature decreases, allowing the body to save energy. The raccoon dog does not have a defined type of hibernation, therefore, if a bit warm winter weather, they will leave their dens and will forage. Therefore, in the southernmost parts of its range, they can not enter torpor.

The Nyctereutes procyonoides is a species of wild dog with an appearance similar to a raccoon, with curved claws that allow them to climb trees and “hibernate”. With a head-body length of 50-68 cm, the raccoon dog is about the size of a fox, but has the legs and tail (13-25 cm) shorter. The body weight varies from 4-6 kg in summer, but can reach about 10 kg before hibernation. The coat is long and dense, especially in winter. Its general color is yellowish brown. The shoulder, the tip of the tail and legs are black. The facial markings resemble those of a raccoon.

The Nyctereutes procyonoides are found mainly in forests and dense vegetation bordering lakes and streams. Raccoon dogs often use dens that have been initially made by a fox or a badger.

They are monogamous. The mating season is in spring. After a gestation period of 59 to 64 days, there are usually 5 to 8 pups born. However, it has been reported that it is up to 19 in a litter. Both parents participate in raising their children.

The raccoon dogs are omnivores, feeding on invertebrates, frogs, lizards, rodents and birds, along with seeds, berries, fruits, and rhizomes. Those who live near the sea also feed on crabs and other marine species.

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