Monday, April 06, 2009


A couple of days ago, Zeki commented on a post and provided a link to some videos of a pet tanuki. I thought this was interesting, and since some people seem to think that these animals live only in video games, I thought it might be worthwhile to make a featured post about the tanuki.

The tanuki is also called the raccoon dog because it looks just like a cross between a raccoon and a dog. It is a canine, however, and there is a variety that is all-white, which takes away some of the raccoon similarity.

Raccoon dogs eat just about anything they can, including small animals, insects, fruit, and seeds.

They appear to mate for life, and both the male and female are actively involved in raising and providing for the cubs. They mature at one year old and can live for 11 years in a domestic environment.

In areas where there's cold winter weather, raccoon dogs will put on a lot of weight and sleep through the winter (they do not hibernate).

Wild raccoon dogs establish latrines and use them regularly. This behavior probably is welcomed by people who keep a raccoon dog as a pet.

Raccoon dogs do not bark, but make a variety of other noises. They also don't wag their tails; they restrict their tail motions to up and down.

People who keep raccoon dogs say they are very active and need a good-sized space to roam in. They're not as easily socialized as common dogs, and can be difficult to handle. This surely varies by the individual and how it was raised.

And remember I said they'll eat anything? Check out this video:

And finally here is some first-hand information from someone who lives with several raccoon dogs. Note that I'm not recommending them as pets; I doubt that they'd even be legal in most of the U.S. But it's always interesting to hear from someone with first-hand experience.

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