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Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Raccoon dog

Rote Liste NRW: u Ungefährdet

Nyctereutes procyonoides




Foto: Photohunter
Due to their size and the (brown-) grey, long-haired fur Raccoon Dogs resemble raccoons or badgers. From these they are distinguished by a dark facial mask, which is interrupted between the eyes by a usually distinct light stripe as well as by the pronounced whiskers. The ears are quite short and the thick, not very long tail is not ringed. The track of the Raccoon Dog is characterized by toe pads that are spread apart; however, this can also be true for the paw prints of foxes or small dogs in soft mud. Swampy and wet meadows with woodland formations and reedy shores in pond and floodplain landscapes are the preferred habitat of the Raccoon Dog. It also likes to frequent wet deciduous and mixed deciduous forests.
Raccoon Dogs are omnivorous feeders. Insects and amphibians can make up half the food in summer; in winter small mammals (including shrews and moles) as well as birds play a role. Furthermore they like to eat fishes as water bodies dry out, similar to plant materials, garbage and carrion. In gull colonies Raccoons Dogs can turn into egg thieves. The Raccoon Dog is often viewed as a menace to the native fauna. But these assessments are often exaggerated because as an omnivore it will only occasionally and locally cause damage in the native fauna and there are no indications that the native species diversity has changed adversely by the presence of the Raccoon Dog. Areas with threatened ground-nesting birds can present an exception here. However, it is conceivable that with respect to overlap in its hunting method, food and hiding places competition with raccoon, badger and perhaps fox are possible.

The species is naturally distributed in East Asia, namely from winter-cold eastern Siberia to the tropical north of Vietnam. Probably from the Siberian parts of its distributional range Raccoon Dogs were introduced in vast areas of the European parts of the former Soviet Union in order to have quick access to this furbearer. From here the species spread to Scandinavia, in the south to the Danube delta and westwards. In the beginning of the 1960s it was for the first time recorded in Germany. Even though the species appears in hunting bags of the hunting season 1984/85, proven records of the Raccoon Dog in this federal state only exist from the 1990s. Nowadays, Racoon Dogs are part of the (occasional) hunting bag in at least 27 out of 54 counties. However, since 1985 114 out of 215 Raccoon Dog reports stem from the counties Lippe, Paderborn and Höxter. While the Raccoon Dog was not known in the Netherlands in 1996, there are now a number of records of mostly road-killed Racoon Dogs from the parts of this neighbouring country bordering NRW.


Henning Vierhaus


Vierhaus H (2023): Marderhund (Nyctereutes procyonoides).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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