dally2's picture


Observed: 14th February 2012 By: dally2

This animal was found caught up in metal stock fence,it was white with a bushy tail and ice blue eyes,the height was approximately 14inches at shoulder height and roughly 2 feet long in length including tail.When we tried to release it the animal became very vicious and jumped up and bit my husband on his leg,luckily he had thick trousers on and the bite did not cut his leg.We managed to put it into a cage and offered it food and water which it refused.Has any one any thoughts or ideas to its identity.
Thank you.

  • Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)
    Confidence: It might be this.
    ID agreements (): 2 People
    • Wheatfen
    • Peter PearsonPeter Pearson’s reputation in MammalsPeter Pearson’s reputation in Mammals
  • dog, canine
    Confidence: It might be this.
    Likely ID
    Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
    ID agreements (): 4 People
    • LordMuzzyLordMuzzy’s reputation in MammalsLordMuzzy’s reputation in Mammals
    • pirayaguarapirayaguara’s reputation in Mammalspirayaguara’s reputation in Mammalspirayaguara’s reputation in Mammals
    • the naturalist man
      The Mammal SocietyYorkshire Naturalists' Union
      Mammals expert
    • Gill Sinclair
      S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeThe Mammal SocietyThe Vincent Wildlife Trust
      Mammals expert
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Douglas's picture

I presume it would have

I presume it would have escaped from a fur farm or something similar?

Best wishes,


Wheatfen's picture

Arctic fox

Escapee (fur or unusual pet) sounds about right. It looks like an arctic fox, though not sure if there are other similar looking species. Local RSPCA may know of other sightings/reports and be able to pinpoint where it came from.

dally2's picture


Thank you both for your comments,I will try to contact the local RSPCA and see if they can help.

Best wishes.

Martin Harvey's picture


amother suggestion, from @ornid via Twitter, is Raccoon Dog:

Entomologist and biological recorder

Peter Pearson's picture

Artic Fox

Looks from wikkipedia and other web pics that this is in fact an Arctic Fox.

Douglas's picture

Raccoon Dog is a good

Raccoon Dog is a good sugestion also. (if it were this, it would suggest fur farm breeding escapee) - whatever it is it should probably be reported anyway to the RSPCA perhaps.

Definitely not a domestic dog as suggested above, face and feet are wrong.

Best wishes,


LordMuzzy's picture

I would go with a white

I would go with a white raccoon dog, I have seen some for sale online as pets located in SE England so possibly a ridiculously expensive pet escapee!


Refugee's picture

Rejected pet

I would err on the side of it being an exotic pet that has been rejected due to it being too vicious. Perhaps it should be taken to a sanctuary where it can be looked after it or even tamed and maybe re-homed.


Gill Sinclair's picture

Fur farms

Looks a bit like a pale morph of a raccoon dog, or an Arctic fox, but fur farming has been banned in the UK for some time now (2000?) so if it is an escapee it's been around in the wild for some time which is surprising for such a conspicuously pale animal. Then again I can't imagine why anyone would want to keep such animals as pets (and I assume they'd need a licence) but RSPCA sounds like the best bet.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

pirayaguara's picture

The foot looks like that of a

The foot looks like that of a raccoon dog rather than an artic fox.
How long was the tail?
Racoon-dog tails are relatively short whereas artic fox has a tail of a length one would expect of a fox.

dally2's picture

Thanks for your comment,the

Thanks for your comment,the tail was shorter than a fox,I have passed on the info to the RSPCA hoping they can help.

the naturalist man's picture

Raccoon dog

White raccoon dogs and Arctic foxes are superficially very similar but this is a raccoon dog. Look at the paws - long thin toes, unlike a dog or an Arctic fox. Also the fur is longer and shaggier than an Arctic fox. In addition the black nose and the ears are too large to be Arctic fox.

I notice the nose has some pink in it; this is often a sign of cross breeding in canines. I don't know of any attempts to cross breed these with domestic dogs but I suspect it will be tried. I suspect it must be the result of inbreeding at least to get the white coat as wild ones have a lovely multi-coloured coat.

They originally come from eastern Asia but are found wild throughout large parts of eastern Europe; escapes from fur farms. As far as I'm aware they are classed as dogs and you don't need a license to keep them in the UK. I don't recommend it as they are a wild animal and, as in this case, very temperamental in captivity.

Graham Banwell

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