The Internet is obsessed with raccoon dogs, fascinating creatures that definitely look like a cross between the two animals. But it’s actually neither a raccoon or a dog. Raccoon dogs are called manguts, or tanukis, and belong to the canid family, along with dogs, wolves and foxes. So technically they are closer to that side of their namesake than the other. But while they certainly have more of a canine silhouette, their features are almost all raccoon. Here is some interesting information on the very popular raccoon dog.
The Nyctereutes procyonoides has five subspecies and are found in Europe, Russia, China, Estonia, Japan and Scandinavia. The only ones in the United States reside at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia. The two there are named Loki and Thor. The names are appropriate considering the raccoon dogs connection to Japanese folklore, in which they are called “bake-danuk” and are notorious shapeshifters. The city of Koka even has Tanuki statues all over town.
The Mammal Society - Carlos Sexton
As cool as they are to look at and learn about, they are an invasive species, carrying diseases and destroying areas they inhabit. Because of this they are not as beloved in Sweden and Denmark, where residents are encouraged to help reduce their population. On the other hand, they also make good pets. As long as owners start training the wild animals young, they can be domesticated to a degree. But beware their mischievous nature, and while they don’t bark, they do make quite a bit of noise. Check them out in the video below...