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A Dog that Hibernates

February 4, 2015

A Dog that Hibernates

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Jonathan C. Slaght Jonathan C. Slaght

Raccoon dogs are quirky beasts.  

Despite sharing an uncanny resemblance to the raccoons of North America they are in fact true dogs, and represent the surviving line of an ancient lineage now otherwise extinct. Given this distinctive pedigree, raccoon dogs exhibit behaviors atypical of other, more modern dogs and are unique among canids in their propensity to hibernate in winter. They also climb trees. Raccoon dogs are native to East Asia where they forage under cover of darkness and eat just about anything they can, from berries to birds to fish.

This particular raccoon dog had been found as a small pup alone and shivering next to the road on the outskirts of the village of Ternei in the southern Russian Far East. She was brought inside, warmed and fed, and over time grew too tame to safely release back into the wild. Rather, she became part of the family. Her love of fish was evident as, instead of hibernating in winter, she would accompany her human foster mother on ice fishing trips to the mouth of the Serebryanka River. Here, the brazen raccoon dog would snap up the flopping smelt pulled one after another from the darkness of an ice hole, while adjacent fishermen huddled on their tackle boxes, jiggled their lines, and stared at the spectacle with mouths agape.

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  • Pingback: A Dog that Hibernates | Jonathan C. Slaght

  • Stephanie Holt
    March 3, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Hi Johnathan,

    I am a researcher for a wildlife tv production company based in the UK and i was wondering if you could remember where you met the raccoon dog you mentioned in “a Dog that Hibernates”? I’d be interested in finding out more about it and whether it would be a good dog to film.

    Please email me at Steph@offspringfilms.com if you get a chance


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  • Mr.Roger
    October 3, 2016 at 6:11 am

    What a touching story! After I read this, it somehow broke my heart to think what if nobody was able to rescue this adorable pup?

    Ann McCall
    April 18, 2017 at 12:22 am

    This is fascinating ! Why haven’t I heard about the PPZ before now. I love the raccoon dog (loving them both individually) and the fat cat. I will have to visit more often. My grandsons will love this site.

    no win no fee
    July 28, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    This is one awesome blog post. Really Cool.

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