Yesterday morning I was driving around for a while trying to find an area without any hunters where I could walk my dogs. (Impossible! ).
Anyway at one point a creature crossed the road in front of me. At first I thought it was a cat but as I came a bit closer, it definitely had a different posture. It looked more like a fox but it had grey fur and a very bushy tail. It’s body had more of the posture of a wild boar piglet (if that’s the right term) but with the bushy tail. I was driving very slowly but I only caught a glimpse and didn’t see its face.
Definitely bigger than a loir. I have had those in the attic in a previous place I lived. They make an enormous amount of noise but if this creature had been in the attic it would have sounded even louder!
If its Racoons, they are very artful little devils. My daughter gets plagued with them in the US and they can open the bins like pros and can be quite agressive as one of her dogs found out. We had Loirs up in Bretagne but they are quite elusive and only come out where they feel safe.
An english /french translation
Especially since it is not new, since the raccoon, originally from the United States, was introduced into our territory by American GIs sent to the air base of Couvrons-et-Aumencourt, in Aisne . They brought back these animals which they considered their mascot. But when General Charles de Gaulle announced on March 7, 1966, the withdrawal of NATO military forces, the soldiers left and the raccoons were released into the wild. Thus, the Picardy forests were the first victims.
I am very interested in all things animal, so want to clarify what I am searching for before heading into the underbrush…
A ‘raccoon dog’ is not really a North American raccoon
The two are different animals.
Possibly, the GIs during WWII did bring a couple of raccoons here but it would be amazing, even for those animals, to have spread themselves far and wide in France. Especially with the popularity of La Chasse for shooting everything that moves.
On the other hand, I can quite see the Asian/Japanese tanuki ‘raccoon dog’ having become popular as a pet, which it shouldn’t be, and then released. More research may be required.
Here one is a Japanese 19th century scroll of mine:
Not really good as pets. They do have a rather endearing need to wash their food before eating. No problem in Canada or the forested areas of northern US but may be a challenge in the dryer regions of France.