The animal's black facial markings give it its name. These marks are reminiscent of the notorious urban trashcan raiders.
Scientists revealed new information Thursday on the possible origins for the Covid-19 pandemic. They also put a bizarre, squat creature in the spotlight.
The black markings on its face give it its name. They are reminiscent of the notorious urban trash collectors.
These animals were sold at least once at the Huanan Wholesale Market for Seafood Wholesale, where many virologists believe that the Covid pandemic may first have begun.
Scientists previously stated that market swabs had been positive for the
Covid is a result. New data showed that these swabs contained significant genetic material.
These findings didn't prove that the virus was transmitted to humans or that raccoon dogs had been infected. They do support the possibility that wild animals on the market could have triggered the Covid pandemic. The news has some information about the animal.
What are Raccoon Dogs?
Raccoon dogs, despite their name, are not related to raccoons. They belong to the canid family which also includes domestic dogs and are closely related with foxes. Raccoon dogs are omnivores that eat rodents and berries. Although they look slimmer in summer, their fur gets thicker during winter. They are the only known canid species that hibernate.
Where do they live?
Raccoon dogs can be found in East Asia, such as Japan, Korea, and China. They are also known as Tanuki. They are also becoming more common in Europe where they are considered an invasive species. Sometimes they are considered pests.
What Are Their Uses?
For their fur, raccoon dogs have been farmed since long. China is the world's largest producer of raccoon pelts. In 2014, China produced more than 14,000,000 pelts. This is 100 times more than Europe. They can also be sold in live-animal markets for their meat. Researchers have confirmed that they were sold at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market as recently as November 2019.
Is This The Source Of The Virus Which Causes Covid
Research has shown that coronavirus can be transmitted from raccoon dogs. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are the natural reservoir of the virus. Even if the raccoon dogs on the market had been infected with the virus, it is possible that they were an intermediate host and picked up the virus from bats, or other species. Scientists have found that bats and raccoon dogs were common in the vicinity of some of the farms that supplied this market. Two decades ago, scientists believe that a similar situation could have occurred after the introduction of SARS. This virus is also known as coronavirus. Scientists discovered evidence of infected palm-civets at a Shenzen, China, live animal market. However, subsequent research revealed that bats were the natural reservoir of the virus that causes SARS. Raccoon dogs seemed to be intermediate hosts.
Can I pet a raccoon dog if I see one?
It is unlikely to be a good idea, no matter how tempting it may seem. The animals can transmit other diseases such as rabies, despite being covid. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals strongly discourages the keeping of raccoon dogs in captivity.