Raccoon vs. Raccoon dog

Raccoon vs. Raccoon dog

Raccoon and raccoon dog are morphologically similar, but genetically unrelated types of mammals. Raccoon originates from North America and belongs to the raccoon family. Raccoon dog, also known as tanuki, originates from East Asia and belongs to the family Canidae (family of wolves and foxes). Raccoon dog and raccoon inhabit various types of forests, wetlands and mountainous areas. Both animals like to climb on the trees, swim and consume various plants and animals. Despite similar name, morphology and lifestyle, raccoon dog and raccoon have plenty of unique features that can be used for identification of each animal:

Shape and Size of the Body

Raccoon has compact torso, short legs and long, bushy tail. It can reach 16 to 28 inches in length and 8 to 20 pounds of weight. Raccoon dog has elongated torso, short legs and short tail. It can reach 18 to 28 inches in length and 6.6 to 15 pounds of weight.


Raccoon is covered with thick gray fur. It has white face with black mask around eyes. Its tail is covered with dark and light rings. Raccoon dog has dark brown or brownish-gray fur, interspersed with long black hairs. Legs and chest are dark brown, nearly black-colored, and belly is yellowish-brown. Raccoon dog also has dark-colored fur around eyes, but its tail is uniformly dark colored.

Front Paws

Unlike raccoon dog, raccoon has extremely sensitive front paws which are used for lifting and examination of small items, opening trash bins and cans and washing food.


Raccoon and raccoon dog are omnivores. Raccoon eats nuts, acorns, insects, worms, eggs, mice, fish, crayfish and frogs. Raccoon dog likes to eat insects, mollusks, frogs, birds, moles, voles, tortoises, eggs, bulbs, fruit and berries.


Raccoon dog hibernates during the winter. It lowers metabolic rate for 25% and stays inside the burrow until the spring. Raccoon does not hibernate, but it decreases its activity (winter rest) until food becomes available again.


Raccoon dogs live in pairs or small family groups. Grooming plays important role in strengthening bonds between the family members. Raccoons are also social creatures. Related females share same territories and often feed and rest together. Unrelated males live in groups of up to 4 animals.


Pregnancy in raccoon lasts 65 days and ends with 2 to 5 babies (kits). Only mother takes care of the babies. Pregnancy in raccoon dog lasts 61 to 70 days and ends with 6 to 7 puppies (rarely up to 16). Male raccoon dog is devoted father.


Raccoon can survive 2 to 3 years in the wild and up to 20 years in the captivity. Raccoon dog can survive 6 to 7 years in the wild and around 11 years in the captivity.

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