NATIVE RANGE: North America
FIRST FINDING IN SLOVENIA: 2002
PATHWAYS: escape and release from captivity
POSSIBLE TO FIND: year-round
DESCRIPTION: A cat-sized mammal (head-body length 60–90 cm, with a tail of 20–40 cm) with a hunched body posture. The fur is usually grey, but reddish, beige and melanistic (black) forms are selectively bred. It is recognisable by its black facial mask combined with a thick tail with 4-10 black rings.
HABITAT: Highly adaptable to a range of habitats, but most often near water.
STATUS: Common and widespread in Germany, where has been established since the 1920’s, but also established in neighbouring countries. Observations elsewhere in Europe are mainly sporadic. Until now only incidental findings of single individuals in Slovenia.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The alien raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) has a similar overall size and a black facial mask, but possesses a shorter tail without black rings. The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) has a more elongated, white head with black stripes running longitudinally instead of a transverse mask.
NOTE: this species is included in the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (the Union list) of Regulation (EU) 1143/2014. The species included on the Union list are subject to restrictions and measures set out in the Regulation. These include restrictions on keeping, importing, selling, breeding and growing. Member States are required to take action on pathways of unintentional introduction, to take measures for the early detection and rapid eradication of these species, and to manage species that are already widely spread in their territory.