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raccoon dog

(Nyctereutes procyonoides), member of the dog family (Canidae) native to eastern Asia and introduced into Europe. Some authorities place it in the raccoon family, Procyonidae. It resembles the raccoon in having dark facial markings that contrast with its yellowish brown coat, but it does not have a ringed tail. It has short, brown or blackish limbs, a heavy body, and rounded ears. Head and body length is 50-65 cm (20-26 inches); tail length, 13-18 cm; and weight, about 7.5 kg (16.5 pounds). Most active at night, the raccoon dog is omnivorous and feeds on small animals, fish, vegetation, and carrion. Litters contain 5-12 young, born after a gestation period reported at 60-79 days. The long fur of the raccoon dog is sold commercially as "Ussuri raccoon," or "tanuki."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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