Raccoon Dog

Nyctereutes procyonoides


Photo credit: ©Alfredo Estrella
Nyctereutes procyonoides
Common Names:
  • Raccoon dog, tanuki

  • Adapted to most habitats, including scrubland, hedges, woodland, coastal areas, wetland and heathland.

  • The raccoon dog is a fox-sized mammal, with a superficial resemblance to the North American raccoon.

Download N.I.E.A. ID guide

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 omnivores 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 Northern Ireland?
  • It is present in Northern Ireland.
  • More distribution 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.
  • Record all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
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 Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email: invasivespecies@daera-ni.gov.uk  

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland