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Tanuki are a species of character in Animal Crossing. Tanuki are frequently confused with raccoons in Western culture (and referred to as raccoons in-game) but are actually of the same biological family as dogs, foxes, and wolves. All Tanukis so far have been special characters.
In traditional stories, the Tanuki was said to have had the ability to transform leaves into gold. This may explain why furniture is depicted as a leaf overworld and why Nook's shop uses a leaf as a logo.