Raccoon Dog and Raccoon Differences. A raccoon (sometimes spelled as racoon) also known as North American raccoon and colloquially as coon is known scientifically as Procyon lotor. It is recongnised by its ringed tail and the black “mask” on its face.

Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are a species native to Asia, they are also known as the magnut or tanuki.

These animals both resemble each other in shape and color thus sharing a common name “raccoon” but the two are not related beyond both belonging to the order Carnivora. the following are differences between raccoons and raccoon dogs

1. Geographical distribution/habitat

Raccoons are of two main types (species), the northern raccoon and the crab-eating raccoon. Northern raccoons live in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America while the crab-eating raccoon lives in parts of Central and South America. They depend on vertical structures especially trees where they do retreat if threatened; they have also lived in scarcely wooded areas in the last decade.

The raccoon dog is found across Japan throughout Europe where it was introduced and thrived successfully. However, the raccoon dog’s natural range stretched through Japan and across eastern China where it is now extinct in many parts, they inhibit forest and woodland close to water bodies.

2. Scientific classification

Raccoon belong to the Kingdom-Animalia, Phylum-Chordata, Class-Mammalia, Order –Carnivora, Family-Procyonidae and Genus-Procyon (Linnaeus, 1758)

Raccoon dogs belong to the Kigdom-Animalia, Phylum-Chordata, Class-Mammalia, Order-Carnivora, Family-Canidae, and Genus-Nyctereutes. (Gray, 1834)

3. Physical Description

Raccoon dogs resemble wild dogs with body marks like a raccoon but lacks a black color on its face like the raccoon, they have a body length of 50-68cm about the size of a fox but has shorter legs and a shorter tail about 14-26cm. their body weight ranges from 4.5-7 kg during the summer to 10 kg before winter hibernation.

All Raccoons share similar features, but are not all the same size the Northern raccoons being the biggest. Their head are shaped like a fox (wide at the forehead and narrows to a pointed snout). They have 40 teeth- including four long and sharp canines. Adults measure 46-66cm in length and have a stripped tail that is 23-35 cm long. They weigh about 3.6 to 9 kg.