What is this animal observed in the country in 2021?

It is often confused with the raccoon and it is true that physically, with their gray and brown fur, and their plush look, the two animals are similar. But it is indeed the raccoon dog in question here. The small animal, which can measure up to 75 cm long and weigh up to 10 kg, is native to East Asia and was observed in our region for the first time last year. “Several observations of this discreet hibernator have already been reported”, indicates the Administration of Nature and Forests, which nevertheless advances “a single scientific proof to date”, on the side of Bettembourg in February 2021.

“We can recognize him particularly by his way of moving and his round paw prints”, further note the specialists. This canine, long hunted for its fur, has been able to move rapidly geographically in recent years towards the west and south of Europe, around 30 kilometers per year. To the point of constituting a real population on the continent.

Only species of dog that hibernates

The raccoon dog is the only known species of dog that hibernates, huddled in its burrow. In the spring, the female can give birth, on average, to 9 babies. It is the male who watches over the litter, the mother taking care of the search for food. Five months later, the little ones are already venturing into their own territory and emotional life. By its development in our latitudes, the animal has proven that it perfectly adapts to a new environment and other weather conditions. Even cohabitation with other species seems to be going well. Populations of foxes and badgers have remained stable” since the introduction of the raccoon dog, notes the Nature and Forest Administration.

Nevertheless, the authorities are vigilant because of possible diseases, potentially “dangerous for humans” also, which would be linked to the development of this species. The Waschbären & Marderhunde in Luxemburg brochure, available on the Nature and Forests Administration website, paints a detailed portrait of this little stuffed animal that has become our neighbour.

(nc/The essential)

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