'Dangerous' raccoon dogs' owner 'wants them back safe'

Raccoon dog Image copyright Mandy Marsh
Image caption One raccoon dog was photographed during a confrontation with farm animals

The owner of two "potentially dangerous" escaped raccoon dogs "just wants them back safe".

The fox-like mammals - also known as tanukis - dug out of a pen in Clarborough, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of Tuesday.

After reported incidents with nearby pets, the owner, who does not want to be named, said he was focusing on finding the pair.

He suggested a "thermal imaging drone" could be used in the search.

Warnings have been issued after one of the raccoon dogs confronted a horse and goat in a nearby paddock.

After shooing the raccoon dog away with pieces of wood, Mandy Marsh - who owns the pony and goat - also saw it confront a dog walker.

But the owner, who did not want to be named, said the raccoon dogs did not represent a serious threat.

"They have escaped and that is my mistake but it's important people don't think these animals are especially dangerous," he said.

Raccoon dogs

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Native to the forests of eastern Siberia, northern China, north Vietnam, Korea and Japan
  • Now widespread in some European countries due to escapes
  • Omnivores that feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, molluscs and carrion
  • The RSPCA "strongly" discourages people from keeping them as pets
  • "Extremely smelly", the charity says, as they use a scent to communicate

Source: RSPCA

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He said the "light-boned" animals ate insects, small animals and berries.

"To be honest I am worried as the female has not been seen and if something has happened to her, this may have made the male more scared and nervous," he said.

"I have been up through the night, I've been really grateful for the help given and offered, and it's been hard work."

He added that cages and cameras used so far had not worked and a drone using thermal imaging would be the fastest way to find them.

Nottinghamshire Police has urged anyone who spots the mammals to get in touch and not to approach them as they are "potentially dangerous".

Earlier this year the European Union added raccoon dogs to a List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern, which seeks to control populations deemed to be harmful to native wildlife.

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