Sometimes there is no news. Sometimes we have to tell you about dog sweaters. Today we will tell you about the Raccoon Dog.
The Raccoon Dog is a member of the canid family but is not a true dog. It is called a raccoon dog because it bears a superficial resemblance to a raccoon. It is a basal genus of Canidae, meaning it branched off into it’s own adorable subgroup earlier than others. It is believed that the Racoon Dog family Nyctereutes has been evolutionarily distinct for seven to ten million years.
Like most dogs, the Raccoon Dog is omnivorous, but is unique in the range of different foods it will eat, which includes pretty much anything including berries, seeds, crabs and other marine life – another similarity to true raccoons… It also has curved claws that allow it to climb trees making it the only canid capable of climbing trees other than the Grey Fox (this is debatable if the film Man’s Best Friend is to be believed…). It also is the only canid known to go into a torpor in the winter. Finally, it doesn’t bark and rarely fights, preferring to hide, play dead or scream when alarmed… On a side note, that’s all those engineers that invented the Robo Dog need is to give the thing a dog scream…
Raccoon Dogs can be found throughout much of Japan, Korea, China and Siberia. In Japan they have cultural significance and can be found in legend, art, song, and video games! For real, both Mario’s “Tanooki Suit (tanuki in Japanese)” and “Raccoon Suit” in Mario Brothers 3 were often misunderstood by ignorant American 9 year olds like my brother to be a bear suit and raccoon suit respectively! Not true! It was Mario taking on the less than intimidating defensive tactics of the Raccoon Dog!
In the wild, Raccoon Dogs also symbiotically infect violent Italians, have a penchant for gold coins and fight boomerang wielding anthropomorphic turtles.