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Ecological Studies of Japanese Raccoon Dogs, Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus

Oscar G. Ward and Doris H. Wurster-Hill
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 70, No. 2 (May, 1989), pp. 330-334
DOI: 10.2307/1381515
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1381515
Page Count: 5
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Ecological Studies of Japanese Raccoon Dogs, Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus
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Abstract

Two populations of wild raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus) in Japan were studied during fall 1984 to obtain information on the ecology of this secretive and nocturnal Asian species whose habits are not well known. Field sites on Kyushu and Honshu are separated by more than 1,200 km and differ in topography, climate, food sources and availability, and use by people. Fourteen animals were captured; morphometric and other biological and behavioral data were recorded, and nine were radiotracked for periods that ranged from 5 to 20 days. Home ranges at the two field sites were small, 49 ± 14 ha (n = 4) and 59 ± 16 ha (n = 5), compared with those of most canids. Similarity in home-range sizes between sites suggested that the animals were not disturbed greatly by human activity and that the home-range size was a reasonably precise estimate for that season. Overlapping home ranges indicated raccoon dogs were not territorial. Differential-use patterns showed that animals at one site exploited alternative food sources, namely refuse, whereas animals at the second site foraged for diffusely distributed natural foods. In contrast to earlier reports raccoon dogs were frequently active diurnally. Raccoon dogs were relatively undisturbed by human activity and appear to be exceedingly adaptable to a wide variety of environments and living conditions.

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