‘Potentially dangerous,’ hissing raccoon dogs captured after terrorizing English village

A pair of raccoon dogs that police said were "potentially dangerous" escaped from their pen last week in Nottinghamshire in central England. They were captured over the weekend, according to The Independent.

>> Read more trending news

The wild animals, also called tanukis, look like a mix between a raccoon and a dog, hence the name, and are about the size of a fox. They’re part of the canid family, which includes wolves and dogs.

The pair in Nottinghamshire escaped by digging out of their enclosure and were spotted around the village, The Independent reported. At one point, they attacked a goat and a pony and scared another resident's dog.

At the time of their escape, Nottinghamshire police said they issued a warning for people to stay away from the animals, calling them "potentially dangerous if approached as they are not domesticated," according to CNN.

It took several days but police said the escaped raccoon dogs were found in the local area and recaptured late Friday.

One resident reported last week that the creatures had attacked her goat.

"I heard such a terrifying noise, like I had never heard before. It was screaming. We ran out and this animal - we now know it's a raccoon dog - was trying to attack our goat, Mandy Marsh told The Independent.

"The raccoon dog was trying to kill it. It was absolutely crazy. It was hissing and screaming and snarling. It was going absolutely mad."

Credit: Pixabay

Credit: Pixabay

The animal's owner told the BBC at the time that the dogs are "less dangerous than a fox." Once they were caught, the owner said they had never posed a serious threat.

Raccoon dogs are indigenous to the forests of East Asia but are now found in Western and Northern Europe after releases and escapes from captivity.

They have markings that resemble a raccoon and curved claws for climbing, according to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They can grow as large as 26 inches in length and weigh as much as 13 pounds. Their preferred meals include birds, lizards, frogs, rodents, mollusks, fruits and seeds.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said raccoon dogs are "not suited to life as a pet in a domestic environment," according to The Independent, and it strongly discourages buying or keeping one as a pet.

The European Union lists the animals as an invasive alien species of concern that is harmful to native wildlife.

About the Author