How Raccoon Dogs caused the Pandemic Explained
Image Courtesy of Circe Denyer (Unsplash)

As the world continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, scientists and experts have been working tirelessly to understand its origins and prevent future outbreaks. While the virus is believed to have originated in bats, there’s another unlikely culprit that’s been gaining attention lately – raccoon dogs. But how did these cute and furry creatures play a role in starting the pandemic?

What are Raccoon Dogs?

  • Raccoon dogs, also known as Nyctereutes procyonoides, are a species of mammal native to East Asia.
  • Despite their name, they are not related to raccoons but are actually part of the canid family, which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes.
  • Raccoon dogs have distinctive features, such as their raccoon-like facial markings, long fur, and bushy tails. They are known for their adaptability and have been introduced to other parts of the world, including Europe, where they are considered an invasive species.

How are Racoon Dogs connected to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Raccoon dogs have been in the spotlight recently due to their possible role in the spread of zoonotic diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In January 2020, evidence of the coronavirus was discovered at a seafood and meat market in Wuhan, China, where raccoon dogs were reportedly being sold.
  • Recently, an international database briefly posted, then removed, data that suggested genetic material from raccoon dogs appeared in the same swabs as the virus responsible for COVID-19. This raises the possibility that the animals may have played a role in transmitting the virus to humans.

Possibility of Spreading the Disease to Humans

With their increasing popularity as exotic pets, raccoon dogs have been sold in wet markets, including Wuhan, China. These markets often stack live animals, including raccoon dogs, in close proximity to each other, increasing the risk of diseases jumping from one animal to another.

This has been identified as a significant factor in the transmission of zoonotic diseases, like COVID-19, and highlights the urgent need for better regulation and hygiene practices in the trade and sale of live animals.

Raccoon dogs have been traditionally consumed in some parts of China and other countries in East Asia.

They are considered a delicacy and are often served in restaurants or sold in wet markets, either as fresh meat or in processed form. However, it’s important to note that not all Chinese people eat raccoon dogs.

The consumption of this animal has been a subject of controversy and criticism due to concerns about animal welfare and zoonotic disease transmission. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of Chinese people do not eat raccoon dogs, and those who do consume them are a small minority.

Do you believe that the raccoon dogs played a role in the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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A lover of all things creepy and chilling, with a particular fascination for horror and true crime. I enjoy binge-watching documentaries on unsolved mysteries - always eager to explore the darker side of human nature. My introduction to the world of gaming is through classics like Metal Slug, Tekken, Dragon Warrior, and Ragnarok Online. A fan of open-world games that allow me to explore and immerse myself in new worlds. Played all the GTAs and is eagerly awaiting the release of the franchise's sixth installment. Outside of my digital adventures, I am inseparable from my fluffy furbaby, Teemo. Whether snuggled up on the couch or out exploring the great outdoors, we are a dynamic duo that bring joy and comfort to each other's lives.