Where to see them
- Tanuki are members of the canid family, which includes wolves and domestic dogs. Although tanuki are not closely related to raccoons, they are often referred to as raccoon dogs for their physical similarities.
- Tanuki are the only canids that hibernate in winter, although hibernation only occurs in the northern part of their range.
Adults average 25 to 31 inches long from nose to tail and weigh 14 to 16 pounds.
Tanuki form monogamous pairs, as do other canids like foxes and jackals. They tend to flee from confrontation, sometimes “playing dead” to avoid predators.
Tanuki are omnivorous, with a varied diet that includes small mammals, amphibians, fish and some vegetation.
Raccoon dogs give birth to larger litters than other canid species, delivering as many as 12 pups in one litter.
Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
brown bear, red fox, sika deer
Population Status & Threats
Tanuki are not currently endangered, but they are an example of a species that could come under threat in the future due to unsustainable activities. They are widely hunted for their fur, and their bones are used in traditional Asian medicine.
Zoo Atlanta Conservation Efforts
Trader’s Alley: Wildlife’s Fading Footprints, the new series of exhibits opened at Zoo Atlanta in June 2010, seeks to enlighten guests about the global problem of the wildlife trade.