The raccoon dog, originally an Asian species, came to breed in Finland from across the eastern border. The raccoon dog can be found even in Lapland, but the breeding population is found to be mainly below the southern regions of Rovaniemi. The raccoon dog prefers to live in broad-leaved or mixed forests. The dense undergrowth not only conceals potential nutrition, but also provides protection to raccoon dog cubs that pad along on their short legs. The raccoon dog feeds on small mammals, frogs, insects, berries and carrion. The raccoon dog is a night-active animal that, when foraging, digs around for example in garbage heaps right next to human habitation.
The raccoon dog is a harmful foreign species. The annual amount of quarry is 120 000-130 000. The raccoon dog is hunted for its fur, but very often for reasons of preservation of game also. The raccoon dog is not as bad a destroyer as claimed; most of its food consists of insects, frogs, berries, carrion and disposals.
ADAPTING TO THE WINTER
The raccoon dog prepares for winter by storing fat; its subcutaneous fat percentage grows to almost double its body weight in the fall. It hibernates through the deep of the winter; its sleep is light and it may wake up if the weather gets warmer, and may get on the go.
CLASS: Mammalia - mammals
ORDER: Carnivora- carnivores
FAMILY: Canidae – Canines
SIZE: Weight: 3-9kg, stands at 25-30cm at the withers.
BREEDING: Heat: March, gestation period: 2 months. Offspring: 6-8, even 12 at a time. Independent in the fall after the first summer, sexual maturity in 10 months.
LIFESPAN: Max. 12 years.