Is it a dog? Is it a raccoon? Well, neither, really?
The internet is abuzz over Tanu, a Japanese animal called tanuki, or in English, a raccoon dog. A raccoon dog is a species that falls under the family canidae, which is dog-like mammals including foxes, wolves, domesticated dogs and jackals. But because of its striking resemblance to a raccoon, it’s often mistaken as one, or a badger.
But after Tanu was rescued by a man in Japan, it’s clear to see he is definitely a dog… we think. Twitter user chibi_tori told BuzzFeed that Tanu has been living with him since June. He also shared a little about what it’s like to live with such a magical creature. He said that tanukis don’t bark like dogs, but rather make a whining noise similar to a fox. He also said that tanukis will eat pretty much anything, and his little guy is obsessed with keeping warm by a small stove.
According to CNN, experts don’t recommend actually adoption a raccoon dog, primarily because they are wild dogs, who have claws that allow them to climb.
The Humane Society of the United States notes that raccoon dogs are often victims of the fur industry, and that many times, their fur has is widely misrepresented as fake fur or as a different species.
Chances are, in the United States, that you won’t come across a tanuki as they are indigenous to East Asia. However, you can see them in personal at the Zoo Atlanta.