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Raccoon and raccoon dog: the difference between animals and their features

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Raccoon and raccoon dog: the difference between animals and their features
Raccoon and raccoon dog: the difference between animals and their features

What is the difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog? And in general - does it exist? Someone suspects that these are different animals, but I'm not sure for sure. Someone, on the contrary, thinks that raccoon dogs and raccoons are different names for one representative of the fauna. But most of the time they are not sure. Let's clarify this issue together.

Who are raccoons?

These are animals belonging to the genus of carnivorous mammals. Raccoons are the native inhabitants of the American lands. The raccoon family consists of four species and 22 subspecies. But in Eurasia, as, in particular, in Russia, the only species was once introduced (biologists say it was introduced) - the raccoon raccoon. This animal has taken root well and has even become popular with pet lovers. Therefore, it is this species that we mean when they talk about the raccoon.


Representatives of the raccoon family, according to zoologists, occupy an intermediate position between martens and bears. Such a squirrel bear. Their earliest ancestors, unlikefrom our contemporaries, lived in Europe, and then moved to America. Under the influence of natural selection, European raccoons became extinct. They are now considered part of the American wildlife.

Raccoon. Appearance

Otherwise, this cute, unusual animal is called the American raccoon. It is usually about the size of a cat, but visually it seems a little larger due to the thick fur cover of a greenish-gray or gray-brown color. Body length - something about 50 cm or a little more. The raccoon has a rather long tail - about half the length of the body (25 cm). The maximum weight of the animal can be 9-10 kg.

The fact that there is a difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog is evidenced, for example, by the paws of the first. They are very similar to human hands - the same five fingers, which is why the traces of the animal resemble human palm prints. The similar structure of the paws is explained by the fact that the prey of the raccoon, holding it in its paws, rinses in the water.

The natural diet of this creature is varied, the animal is almost omnivorous: it can eat both animal food (small reptiles, fish, crayfish, rodents, insects, birds and bird eggs), and vegetable food (berries, fruits, nuts and acorns). The choice of food depends on the time of year: in the spring, the raccoon hunts small animals, and in the fall it harvests fruits. In winter, the animal goes into hibernation, but only in the north.


To understand the difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog, pay attention to the fact that the gargle lives most often in the hollows of trees, only very rarely can it be used as a refugechoose a crevice in the mountains or an old badger hole. Raccoons themselves do not dig holes for themselves - their paws are not adapted for digging. But the animals are great at climbing trees, jumping, they can, clinging with their paws, hang on a branch and even move up the trunks upside down.

Raccoons in the hollow

Character of raccoons is fearless, active and curious. They love to roam in shallow water and are excellent swimmers. In addition, raccoons are not afraid of people and quite often settle near human habitation, rummaging through garbage heaps for food. There are known cases of penetration of these animals into human homes.

These animals see perfectly, but the greatest help in orientation in space is provided by vibrissae - tough sensitive hair. Their bundles are located at the raccoon's head, on the paws, on the chest and on the belly. It is thanks to them that the raccoon is able to move quickly even in complete darkness.

About raccoon dogs

Now let's talk about animals that are often confused with raccoons.

Otherwise, this animal is called a raccoon Ussuri fox or even a raccoon. His pointed muzzle really resembles a raccoon. It also has thick fur that is dark brown in color, sometimes with a grayish tint. On the belly, the fur is lighter, a dark stripe runs along the ridge.

raccoon dog

But the raccoon dog, as the name suggests, belongs to the canine family. She has a stocky, but rather long body - from 60 to 80 cm, tail - 25 cm. At the same time, the paws of a raccoon dog are short.

The muzzle of both animals is decorated with a characteristic "mask", whichand causes the ignorant to confuse one animal with another. However, take a closer look: even in the photo of a raccoon and a raccoon dog, the difference is visible. Obviously, the "mask" of the latter is not so pronounced, moreover, there are no transverse dark stripes characteristic of raccoons on the tail.

It should be noted that zoologists also know completely white albino Ussuri foxes.

Albino raccoon dog

Habits and diet

There are many similarities between the discussed animals. Raccoon dogs are also omnivorous and lead a twilight-night lifestyle. However, their shelters are not located on trees, but exclusively in the ground: these are fox or badger holes, pits, root niches. Occasionally, the Ussuri fox can dig a hole on its own or generally prefer an open bed.

Just like a raccoon, a raccoon dog feeds by exploring its surroundings. This is, as zoologists say, a typical "gatherer". The diet of the animal includes the same insects, small rodents, grains of cereals and various carrion, for example, dead fish. The raccoon also hibernates during particularly cold winters.

A raccoon dog has nothing like a marten, whose habits are visible in the lifestyle of a raccoon. She will not climb a tree, she cannot be found in a hollow. The closest relatives of the raccoon dog can be considered wolves and foxes.

What's the difference?

And now, summing up the knowledge gained, we list the main differences between a raccoon and a raccoon dog.

And it's a raccoon dog

First, it's wool. The raccoon dog's fur is thicker, more abundant andlonger. On the sides of the muzzle of the animal you can see a kind of "whiskers". At the same time, the hair itself is coarser - this is why raccoon fur is valued more.

Second, pay attention to the tail. In a raccoon, it is very noticeable thanks to the stripes. The tail of the raccoon dog is shorter in relation to the length of the body and has no pattern.

Third, paws. This is also a kind of "trick" of a raccoon, by which it is easy to identify it. As already mentioned, the five fingers of the raccoon paws are separated, and they are very similar to human hands. Thus, the difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog is also obvious from their prints: if the first has almost the prints of small human palms, then the second leaves the usual dog-wolf tracks characteristic of all canines.

Raccoons on a tree

And the last thing, maybe not so noticeable with normal observation. The raccoon dog is a burrowing animal, but the raccoon climbs trees very well and prefers to settle in hollows.

We hope you also understand the difference between a raccoon and a raccoon dog.

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