The Raccoon Dog, also known as the Mangut isn’t technically a raccoon or a dog, and his closest relatives are foxes. The animal is native to the forests of eastern Siberia, northern China, North Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Though they have been recently seen in some European countries, having been released, or having escaped.
Some people keep them as pet, which is problematic as they are wild animals and should absolutely not live in houses. The number of illegal Raccoon dog pets in the UK is not known, but the RSPCA rehomed five raccoon dogs in 2018 and eight in 2017 as owners did no longer want them. Animals kept in captivity often become unmanageable and while they are too small to be dangerous to humans, they can bite and scratch.
Raccoon dogs feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles, molluscs, as well as fruits, nuts, and berries. The animal is considered as an ‘invasive specie’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In some ecosystems, especially islands, invasive species can have a huge impact on the biodiversity and even cause extinctions among animals they feed on. That’s why Raccoon Dogs shouldn’t be brought in new environments and it’s illegal to breed them.