Raccoon dog running wild in Wales is ‘unpredictable’ and shouldn’t be approached

Raccoon dogs are native to East Asia but have been spotted in the UK
Raccoon dogs are native to East Asia but have been spotted in the UK (Picture: Mandy Marsh / SWNS / Getty)
People have been warned not to approach a very rare ‘raccoon dog’ that is on the loose in Wales. The ‘unpredictable’ animal is thought to have been missing from a home in the Colebren area in Powys for several weeks but Natural Resources Wales only announced its escape on Monday. It was last seen on January 21 and may have travelled up to eight miles through the Welsh countryside.

Locals living in the area have been told not to approach the dog, which is a member of the canine family but looks more like a racoon.

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Information issued by NRW said: ‘Raccoon dogs will naturally range further in the wild and so could be seen more than eight miles away. They are small, nocturnal fox-sized animals, originally from East Asia that look like raccoons. Their diet includes fruit, insects, rodents, frogs, birds and eggs so they can have a negative impact on native wildlife.

‘If you think you might have spotted one (dead or alive), or know where it might have escaped from please report this as soon as possible. As with any wild animal, their behaviour may be unpredictable and are not to be approached.’

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It is not illegal to keep the dogs as pets although this has been strongly discouraged by the RSPCA. Since February 2019, it has been against the law to sell the animal or breed it because of the risk they pose a risk to native species in Europe.
a Raccoon Dog standing in natural back
File picture of a raccoon dog – the wild animals are said to be ‘unpredictable’ (Picture: iStockphoto)

While sightings are very rare, it is not the first time a raccoon dog has been on the loose in the UK.

One was captured and humanely destroyed after being found in north Carmarthenshire in the summer of 2020.

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In 2019, a village in Nottinghamshire was said to be ‘under siege’ when two raccoon dogs escaped and ran riot, attacking other animals.
This raccoon dog was spotted in Nottinghamshire in 2019 (Picture: SWNS)
Also known as a ‘tanuki’, raccoon dogs are more often found in forests in East Asian countries including China and Japan.

There have been reports of people keeping them as pets in the UK after buying them online.

The RSCPA has had to take in the dogs in the past after their owners found they’d become unmanageable.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Nearly 80 million U.S. households have a pet, and 42 percent of those households have more than one, according to a 2015-2016 survey by the APPA. There are 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 85.8 million pet cats.

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