Sunday, January 20, 2008

Raccoon Dogs and Artificial Dens in Germany

Frank Joisten writes from Germany about raccoon dogs (also known as Tanuki), which have made their way to his country from Finland, Poland and Russia where they were introduced many years ago.

Frank says raccoon-dogs are not too difficult to work. Unlike fox, they generally will not bolt, and have to be dug to. Their teeth are fairly small, however, so the dogs rarely get injured very much.

In almost every case, he says, you will find two raccoon-dogs in a den.

Frank has dug on more than 150 raccoon-dogs, generally with wirehaired miniature dachshunds doing the work, but also with Jagt Terriers, Patterdales and Jack Russells.

Along with pictures of some raccoon dogs he has dug to, Frank encloses a few pictures of an artificial den being dug near the shore of a lake or inlet.

Use of artificial dens is a fairly common practice in Germany, and results in some assurance that a fox will be found and bolted.

I have seen pictures of artificial dens from both Germany and other countries made of brick and topped with slate, and also constructed of concrete drain pipe, but this one appears to be made of flexible plastic drain pipe connected to a "kettle" that has been deeply lined with sand so that the fox will stay dry while it lays up out of the weather.

Note that this set up has an entrance and an exit, with the denning location in between. The terrier or dachshund enters one pipe, and the fox generally bolts out the other in short order.

For a previous post with pictures of Frank and his dachshunds digging on badger, raccoon-dog and American raccoon (a species introduced to Germany in the 1930s), see here.

Thanks for these pictures Frank! Great to see hear how it's done on the other side of the ocean.


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