When Twitter user, @chibi_tori, from Japan, discovered an abandoned dog, she knew she couldn't leave him to fend for himself. So, she decided to adopt the pup and name him Tanu.
She realized that there was something quite different about this little guy, he didn't act like your typical dog and he looked a little bit like something North American homeowners are used to seeing rummaging through their garbage.
In fact, he wasn't a dog, or a raccoon, but something in between: a Tanuki, also known as a Japanese raccoon dog. It resembles the ancestral form of the dog, but unlike the domesticated dogs of today, it can climb trees.
The Tanuki are quite unique, the only other animal in the canidae family that climbs trees is the Arctic Grey Fox.
He really is adorable!
And he looks so much like a raccoon!
See more photos of Tanu the raccoon dog on the next page!
The tanuki is featured prominently in Japanese folklore going back to ancient times. These incredible creatures have a reputation of being mischievous and jolly, as well as a shapeshifting master of disguise, but they also tend to be quite a bit gullible.
Tanu, on the other hand, seems pretty happy with his newfound home and family. He likes to nap, eat and get into a little mischief around the house.
While it isn't generally recommended that people adopt Tanukis as pets (they are similar in temperament to a fox), Tanu seems to be adjusting comfortably. Tanukis are not considered domesticated and owning them can be quite the legal hurdle. Also much of their behavior is unpredictable, they can become territorial, and frequently steal shiny objects.
He's such a handsome boy - it's hard to imagine that other Tanuki just like him are being slaughtered for their fur and mislabled as "raccoon," then sold in clothing to major retailers in North America.
Tanu is very lucky that his new mom adopted him when she did, and we're certainly glad that this handsome little guy found a loving forever home!