Fun Raccoon Dog Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 17, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fun Raccoon Dog Facts For Kids
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.1 Min

Did you know that there is a species of animals that looks just like raccoons? They are called raccoon dogs.

The similarity of their name comes from a similar look. However, the two animals live on entirely different continents. The raccoon dog is extensively found in Eastern Asia in places like Japan, China, and Russia.

However, they also have a prolific population in Europe as they were introduced to the region by Russia. The intelligent raccoon dogs are the only canids who hibernate during the harsh winters. Raccoon dogs prefer to hunt at night; however, they can also be seen during the daytime.

They have a knack for climbing trees to eat fruits and berries. Raccoon dogs do not seem to have aggressive behavior, and they are sociable with peers.

Fun facts about these mammals are that they mate in monogamous pairs. The mother and father take equal responsibilities in raising the cute puppies.

As an animal that is found extensively, the population of Raccoon dogs has a status of Least Concern. There are five primary subspecies of Raccoon dogs found in different parts of Asia. The Japanese Raccoon dog is known as Tanuki.

Want to know more about Raccoon dogs? Keep on reading to know more about these cute animals.

If you find the Raccoon dog facts interesting, check out our articles on the Fennec fox and the brown hare.

Raccoon Dog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Raccoon Dog?

The Raccoon dog is a member of the Canidae family from Eastern Asia, and are closely related to foxes and dogs.

What class of animal does a Raccoon Dog belong to?

A raccoon dog falls under the class of Mammalia.

How many Raccoon Dogs are there in the world?

As raccoon dogs are extensively found in Japan, Russia and Europe, no conclusive studies have been done to know their exact population.

Where does a Raccoon Dog live?

Raccoon dogs like to live near water sources. The Japanese Raccoon dogs are found living in deciduous forests, mixed forests, broad-leaved evergreen forests, farmlands, and urban areas.

In most of East Asia, Raccoon dogs prefer to live in the forests. However, the Russian Raccoon dog prefers a more open landscape and damp meadows. As a hibernating canine, Raccoon dogs stay in their burrows during the winter months.

What is a Raccoon Dog's habitat?

The Raccoon dog mainly resides in East Asia, specifically in Japan, China, and Russia. However, Russians introduced Raccoon dogs to European countries for their fur, which has made them an invasive species in several countries.

Raccoon dogs prefer to live near the water, especially in woodlands, swamps, and forested areas. But, the preference may vary according to their location, as seen in Russian raccoon dogs who prefer more open spaces.

After their introduction in Europe, raccoon dogs are extensively found in urban spaces where they have adjusted even though the spaces lack the characteristics of their usual habitat. Raccoon dogs have also gained popularity as exotic pets.

However, it isn't condoned due to them being primarily wild animals. To hibernate in the winters, raccoon dogs dig burrows in areas of thick vegetation.

Who do Raccoon Dogs live with?

Raccoon dogs are social animals and they either live in pairs or small family groups. 'Pack' is the term used for a family of raccoon dogs. During the months of December to January, Raccoon dogs like to hibernate in pairs. Raccoon dogs are also monogamous in nature and they maintain their relationship while raising the puppies.

How long does a Raccoon Dog live?

The average lifespan for a Raccoon dog is around three to eight years. Moreover, some Raccoon dogs have even lived to be 11 years old. However, their life can be cut short if they aren't able to prepare substantially to hibernate during the cold winter months.

How do they reproduce?

Raccoon dogs are monogamous, and they do raise their puppies by sharing responsibilities. The mating season of the species starts as the weather starts to warm up in February and lasts till April.

A small group of three or four Raccoon dogs may compete to secure a female mate. The gestational period lasts for 60 to 70 days, and on average, Raccoon dogs give birth to six to eight puppies.

However, the litter size can go up to 12 in some cases. A Raccoon dog puppy takes four to five months to complete its growth, and then they leave the parents.

The father plays an integral role in bringing food into their burrow. A baby Raccoon dog reaches its sexual maturity at eight to 10 months old.

What is their conservation status?

Raccoon dogs are classified as of the Least Concern IUCN Red List. An ample amount of raccoon dogs are found in East Asia and they have also turned into an invasive species in many European countries.

Raccoon Dog Fun facts

What do raccoon dogs look like?

Raccoon dog facts help to learn about a new animal.

Well, by its name, we can understand that raccoon dogs look similar to the raccoons found in America. However, that is not true.

The animals are actually closer to the species of foxes. They do indeed look very similar to raccoons because of their masked face and multi-colored fur coat.

The appearance of a raccoon dog also changes based on the season. During the winter months, raccoon dogs grow a thick fur undergrowth that keeps them safe from the harsh winter conditions. The animals even grow thick guard hairs measuring up to 120mm.

The fur coat of a Raccoon dog helps them to sustain temperature conditions like −20° to −25 °C or -4°F to -13°F. The color of a Raccoon dog's fur appears brownish-gray in the winters, which seems dirty due to its high density.

The guard hairs are usually black colored. The fur is important for a clever raccoon dog to hibernate.

A distinct feature of a raccoon dog is the dark stripe that runs from its back to the shoulders, where it takes the shape of a cross. The species have a light-colored belly.

During the summer months, the animals' fur appears brighter, and it can take a reddish-brown tinge, making them look like a red raccoon dog. The tail of a raccoon dog is dark, usually having a black color. An albino raccoon dog is a rare variant that was spotted in Japan.

The Japanese raccoon dog, Tanuki, is a subspecies of the raccoon dog family, and they are slightly smaller than the other animals. Because of their beautiful fur, raccoon dogs have been traded globally.

How cute are they?

A raccoon dog is quite cute mainly because of its thick dense fur and small beady eyes. Their small paws make them even cuter. Their extreme cuteness has made raccoon dogs a favorite for those who like exotic pets, but every measure is currently taken to curb the problem.

How do they communicate?

A raccoon dog doesn't bark like a usual dog, instead, it communicates with the help of growl, mewing, or yelp which makes these animals quite similar to foxes. Their growls are often accompanied by a melancholy whine. Tanuki are known for their high-pitched sound that is similar to cats.

How big is a Raccoon Dog?

An adult raccoon dog can grow to the length of 19.6 in-26 in (50 cm-65 cm). Raccoon dogs are twice the size of an adult Pomeranian dog who only grow to the height of about seven to 12 in (18 - 30 cm).

How fast can a Raccoon Dog run?

A raccoon dog is able to run at an average speed of 25 mph or 40 kph.

How much does a Raccoon Dog weigh?

The weight of a Raccoon dog fluctuates according to the season. Usually, their weight varies between 6.6 lb-22 lb (3 kg-10 kg) in the summer months.

However, they change their food source during the winter months to pure animal sources to build the fat needed for hibernation. In winters, a Raccoon dog can weigh up to  14 lb–15 lb (6.5 kg–7 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female raccoon dogs do not have a distinct name.

What would you call a baby Raccoon Dog?

The baby of a raccoon dog is called a puppy.

What do they eat?

Raccoon dogs are omnivores, so they eat several different things. Some of the food sources of these animals include insects, rodents, frogs, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks, carrion, fruits, nuts and berries.

Raccoon dogs love to eat frogs and other amphibians. The animals change up their food source according to the season.

They have a habit of eating berries, nuts, and fruits in the summer months. However, they switch to a more animal-based food source during the winter months. In Japan and China, raccoon dogs are known for climbing trees with their sharp claws in search of fruits and berries.

As their habitat is close to water, they never face a problem in getting food from the water. Though raccoon dogs are usually nocturnal, they can also hunt during the daytime.

Are they rare?

No, raccoon dogs aren't rare. The animals are found in huge populations all over Eastern and Central Asia. They have also made it into Europe and have increased prolifically in numbers. As they are categorized as of Least Concern, not many prominent studies have been done to count their total population.

Would they make a good pet?

Do you wish to keep a raccoon dog as a pet? You won't be the only one who has that wish. Cute raccoon dogs have become a sensation in the world of exotic pets.

However, it is illegal to keep a raccoon dog as your pet. They do not have very aggressive behavior in captivity; however, raccoon dogs are definitely wild animals. If a raccoon dog gets irritated or feels threatened, its behavior can quickly change, which may lead to scratches and bites.

Did you know...

The scientific name of raccoon dogs, Nyctereutes procyonoides when translated from Greek, it means 'the night wanderer.'

Tanuki are symbols of prosperity and economic growth in Japan. The animals are also a key part of the country's folklore.

One study of the Humane Society of the United States stated that 70% of the faux fur garments actually contain fur originating from raccoon dogs.

Raccoon vs. Raccoon Dog

On hearing the name raccoon dog, you may get confused about the presence of these animals. They have been named raccoon dog because of their similarity in appearance.

Both of them have a masked face which looks extremely cute. However, the animals aren't related. When it comes to their appearance, raccoon dogs have a more slender torso compared to raccoons.

The raccoon dogs also weigh less than American raccoons. Another difference lies in their location as raccoon dogs are primarily found in East Asia and Europe, whereas raccoons mainly belong to America. Also, raccoon dogs belong to the Canidae family, but raccoons belong to the Procyonidae family of animals.

You would be thrilled to know about some of the similarities shared by raccoons and raccoon dogs. Both of them like to swim and prefer to stay with their families.

Can you keep Raccoon Dogs?

No, you are not allowed to keep raccoon dogs. However, someone who has rescued a raccoon dog may need to seek special permission from the government to take care of the animal. It isn't legal to keep raccoon dogs in the U.S.A to protect the natural history of the diverse population of raccoon dogs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Eskimo dogs and Schnoodles.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our raccoon dog coloring pages.

japan russia china sweden denmark and other european countries (as invasive species)

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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