- Photo credit: @Alfredo Estrella
- Nyctereutes procyonoides
- Common Names: Raccoon dog, tanuki
- Habitat: Adapted to most habitats, including scrubland, hedges, woodland, coastal areas, wetland and heathland.
- Description: The raccoon dog is a fox-sized mammal, with a superficial resemblance to the North American raccoon.
- Origin and Worldwide Distribution: It is native to Eastern Asia, and has become established in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Slovakia. It has spread rapidly in the wild after escaping from fur farms or from pet owners, as well as a massive introduction in the former Soviet Union in the first half of the 20th century.
- Potential or Known Impacts: The raccoon dog is one of the most successful alien carnivores in Europe thanks to its high reproductive capacity, flexible feeding habits and adaptive behaviour. It has a major impact on biodiversity, predating on many native species such as waterfowl, amphibians, rodents, reptiles and insects. It is also a very important vector of rabies, parasitic worms, ticks, sarcoptic mange and other parasites and diseases dangerous for native wildlife, as well as for humans.
- How did it/could it get here? Being bought as a companion, zoo or fur-farm animal, or intentional/unintentional release from captivity.
- Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland? Not present in Ireland, although has been recorded in Northern Ireland. More information can be found at NBN Atlas NI.
- Methods for Prevention: Union level action includes a ban on keeping and selling the species, a rapid eradication obligation of newly emerging populations and the management of established populations in order to prevent the species from becoming a wider problem across the EU and to keep them out of protected areas.
- Current Legislative Position (Listed on 02 February 2019) This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment. For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.