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Raccoon Dog[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Nyctereutes
Species: N. procyonoides
Binomial name
Nyctereutes procyonoides
(Gray, 1834)

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, "-oid") is a member of the canid family (which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes) and is indigenous to east Asia. It is the only extant species in its genus Nyctereutes. It is considered a basal canid species, resembling ancestral forms of the family. The Raccoon Dog is named for its resemblance to the raccoon (Procyon lotor), to which it is not closely related.

The Raccoon Dog is native to China, Korea, Japan, and Northeastern Russia. Average adult head and body length is about 65 cm (2 ft) and weight ranges from 4 to 10 kg (9 to 22 lb). Average litters are large, 15 or more pups. Longevity is 3–4 years in the wild and up to 11 years in captivity. The species is found in both plains and mountainous regions and is especially common in woodlands. The Raccoon Dog is commonly seen near villages and in rural areas.

Native East Asian Raccoon Dog populations have declined in recent years due to hunting, fur trade and fur trapping, urbanization, an increase of animals associated with human civilization such as pets and abandoned animals, and diseases that may be transmitted between them. Following its introduction into central and western Europe, however, it has been treated as a potentially hazardous invasive species.[3]

Contents

Subspecies

The six recognized subspecies of Raccoon Dog are:[1]

There is some debate in the scientific community regarding speciation between the Siberian (N. p. ussuriensis), Chinese (N. p. procyonoides), and Japanese (N. p. viverrinus) subspecies. Chromosome, behavioral, and weight differences, suggest the Japanese Raccoon Dog be considered a separate from the other subspecies.[4][5]

Behavior

Like many other canids, the Raccoon Dog is omnivorous. However, its diet is atypically diverse, consisting of invertebrates, frogs, lizards, rodents, and birds, along with seeds and berries. Those living near the ocean will also eat crabs and scavenged marine life.[6]

The Raccoon Dog is secretive and not aggressive; it prefers to hide or scream rather than fight, and plays dead to avoid predators. It is monogamous; some fights occur between males for females. Mating season begins when the Raccoon Dog emerges from its winter den. The female is in heat for about six days. The baculum tie in coitus lasts about 6 minutes, less than in other canids. When the cubs are born, after a gestation of about 60 days, the male will assist in rearing, first by providing food to his mate and by caring for the cubs when they are weaned, about 50 days after birth, while the mother gathers food. Raccoon Dog pups continue to nurse even after they begin eating solid food. They are not weaned until eight weeks of age, later than any other canid. They become physically and sexually mature after one year.[6]

The Raccoon Dog is the only canid to hibernate during the cold months, but only those in the northern part of the range do so.[7] It is also unusual in that its curved claws enable it to climb trees[8]; the only other canid with this ability is the gray fox. It does not bark and it turns its tail into an inverted U to express dominance. The Raccoon Dog's teeth are small for a canid.

Introduction in Europe

Between 1931 and 1955, the N. p. ussuriensis subspecies was introduced to the European Soviet Union as potential fur or game animals and have spread rapidly since. In 1948, 35 Raccoon Dog were introduced in Latvia. The population increased rapidly. In 1960 Latvia officially reported a total of 4,210 Raccoon Dog were hunted.[9] However, speculation exists that the introduction of the Raccoon Dog to Europe brought with it infected ticks that introduced the Asian Tick-borne meningoencephalitis virus.[10]

The Raccoon Dog is now abundant throughout Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and has been reported as far away as France, Romania, Italy,[4] Switzerland,[11] Denmark, and Sweden.[3]

Use of fur

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.[12] The raccoon dog comprises 11% of all animals hunted in Japan.[13] Twenty percent of domestically produced fur in Russia is from the Raccoon Dog.[14]

In late 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 by the nation's largest animal protection organization, concluded garments were actually made from raccoon dog.[15] 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. have been mislabeling raccoon dog fur. According to HSUS, racoon dogs are typically skinned alive.[16][17] They assert 70% of fur garments they tested were raccoon dog but were mislabeled as faux fur, coyote, rabbit, or other animals.[18]

In March 2009, following Henry Bendel and Overstock.com, retailer JCPenney became the first major retailer to ban fur products from its shelves.[19] Lord & Taylor followed suit in December 2009.[17]

See also

  • Tanuki, the Japanese Raccoon Dog in Japanese culture.

References

  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000825.  
  2. ^ Kauhala, K. & Saeki, M. (2008). Nyctereutes procyonoides. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ a b http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/09/04/Sweden-says-open-season-on-raccoon-dogs/UPI-95421252091031/
  4. ^ a b Kauhala, Kaarina (1994). "The Raccoon Dog: a successful canid". Canid News 2: 37–40. http://www.canids.org/PUBLICAT/CNDNEWS2/racoondg.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-19.  
  5. ^ 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" (fee required). Comparative chromosome painting defines the karyotypic relationships among the domestic dog, Chinese raccoon dog and Japanese raccoon dog 11 (8): 735–740. doi:10.1023/B:CHRO.0000005760.03266.29. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n32l1k5t13l2k530/. Retrieved 2008-08-19.  
  6. ^ a b Kauhala K. & Saeki M. (2004). »Raccoon Dog«. Canid Species Accounts. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. Pridobljeno 15.4.2009.
  7. ^ Roots C. (2006). Hibernation. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313335443.
  8. ^ Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs - 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, edited by Claudio Sillero-Zuberi, Michael Hoffman, and David MacDonald. c.2004 by IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group, p 139
  9. ^ Miervaldis Bušs, Jānis Vanags "Latvijas Meži" 1987. Latvia. Article: Medību saimniecība.
  10. ^ Interview with Vilnis Bernards, chairmen of Division of Species and Habitats Protection in Ministry of Environment[1]
  11. ^ F. Zimmermann (2004). "Monitoring der Raubtiere in der Schweiz 2004". KORA Bericht Nr. 29. Coordinated research projects for the conservation and management of carnivores in Switzerland. http://www.lcie.org/docs/Regions/Alps/Zimmermann%20KORA%20Swiss%20carnivore%20monitoring%202004.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-25.  
  12. ^ http://www.careforthewild.com/files/Furreport05.pdf
  13. ^ Quality of the Environment in Japan 1995 [MOE]
  14. ^ http://www.traffic.org/content/293.pdf
  15. ^ Sean John jackets were made with dog fur (December 22, 2006) MSNBC. Accessed 2008-06-01.
  16. ^ Land, Michelle; David (2009-05-13). "Live Skinning Raccoon Dogs and Other Tales from the Fur Farm". Animal Blawg. http://animalblawg.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/live-skinning-raccoon-dogs-and-other-tales-from-the-fur-farm/.  
  17. ^ a b Donnelly, Erin (2009-12-03). "Lord & Taylor Bans Raccoon Dog Fur". StyleList. http://www.stylelist.com/2009/12/03/lord-and-taylor-bans-raccoon-dog-fur?icid=main.  
  18. ^ HSUS Files New Fur False Advertising Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  19. ^ Seymour, Kristen (2009-03-17). "JCPenney Says No to Fur". StyleList. http://www.stylelist.com/2009/03/17/jcpenney-says-no-to-fur/.  

External links

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Simple English

Raccoon Dog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Nyctereutes
Species: N. procyonoides
Binomial name
Nyctereutes procyonoides
(Gray, 1834)

The Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) is a member of the canid family and is from east Asia. Despite being hunted by many people (thousands of people), a small island in Japan has been designated a protected area for raccoon dogs.

Physical description

Raccoon dogs are fox-like in build, but with shorter legs and tail. They have a dark patch on the side of the face, similar to a raccoon's facial markings.



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