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Facts about a Red Panda

Bamboo eating red panda


COMMON NAME: Red panda

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ailurus fulgens

TYPE: Mammals

DIET: Omnivore


SIZE: 22 to 25 inches, plus tail of 15 to 19 inches

WEIGHT: Eight to 17 pounds

They are found in the Eastern Himalayas and South-western China and are also known as the lesser panda, red bear-cat, and red cat-bear.

Except during breeding season, they are fiercely territorial and live alone.

They are skilled tree climbers and can down trees head first, thanks to their red coloring (and cute face), long bushy tails (and cute face), and raccoon-like traits (and cute face).

Illegal hunting and habitat loss are the two most serious threats to the species, which are classified as endangered.

It is believed that there has been a 40% decline in population during the last 50 years.

Red Panda cute looking animal

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They have a cute, easily recognizable look.

The red panda is easily distinguished by its coat color, which is reddish-brown on top and black underneath, with white markings on the face.

They blend in well with the red moss, white lichen, and yellow-orange-red foliage of their forest habitat, which helps them hide from predators.

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They're the Only "Real" Pandas

Red pandas, like giant pandas, eat bamboo and are native to Asia's mountainous forests.

Although they share a name and a favorite meal, the two animals are not related.

Red pandas were first described by Western scientists 50 years before giant pandas.

The black-and-white bear was named after the smaller red panda due to common traits such as a fondness for bamboo and an extra finger known as a pseudo thumb.

A French biologist named Frédéric Cuvier originally described the red panda in 1825, a few decades before the giant panda was discovered. 

It was the most beautiful animal he had ever seen, he said.

However, new research has placed red pandas in their own taxonomic family, Ailuridae, while giant pandas are part of the Ursidae (bear) family.

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Term "Panda" origin

In fact, it was the smaller black-and-white bear that was given the term "panda."

Red pandas are hence the only "genuine" pandas.

The name "panda" is thought to come from the Nepalese phrase "nigalyaponya," which means "bamboo eater."


Source :

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Red Pandas spend large amounts of time on trees.

Red pandas have adapted to life in the trees so well that they are known for their outstanding acrobatic abilities.

They even have a thumb-like wrist bone that helps in getting an extra grip when climbing.

They can't stretch their arms like an acrobat to stay balanced, but they can utilize their tails.

A red panda may balance itself by swinging its tail in the opposite direction if it begins to lean in one direction.

These creatures escape predators like snow leopards by spending time in trees.

Their reddish coats and white face markings help them blend in with the red-brown moss and white lichen that grows on the trees where they inhabit.

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The ankles of the red panda can rotate 180 degrees.

They can turn their ankles 180 degrees, which is equivalent to being able to turn your foot backward. The adjustment gives their curved claws a better angle for gripping the bark

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Pandas are Escape Artists.


Source :

Rusty the red panda had only been at the Smithsonian National Zoo for three weeks when he escaped in June 2013.

His method of eluding capture? Heavy rains pushed a tree branch through his electric fence.

The following panda hunt (and endless pandamonium jokes) captivated Twitter (tweeters used the hashtag #findrusty) until he was discovered in a nearby neighborhood.

Rusty became a father soon after his daring escape, forcing him to put his wild youth behind him and settle down.

But things could have been much worse. Following a similar escape in Dresden, Germany, authorities used a fire hose to spray a red panda down from a tree.

The panda suffered an injury after falling 30 feet to the earth. (In the end, the animal was alright.)

In addition to London, Birmingham, and Rotterdam, red pandas have escaped from zoos. "Beware: red pandas are escape artists," the Association of Zoos and Aquariums warns in its official care manual [PDF].

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The Red Panda Effect was initially caused by one Escape.

Unfortunately, not long after the search for the red panda involved in the 1978 Rotterdam escape began, it was discovered dead.

However, the incident prompted an odd psychological observation. Hundreds of people claimed to have seen the panda alive even after its body was discovered.

These claims were definitely false; there's no reason to believe that numerous red pandas were roaming in Rotterdam, and red pandas are unique enough that they'd be mistaken for a dog or cat.

The Red Panda Effect is thought to be the result of people expecting to see a red panda and seeing one even when one wasn't present.

Red pandas are the only living members of their Ailuridae family. 

In fact, their taxonomic position has long been a source of scientific contention. They were initially classified as raccoons and then as bears.

Recent genetic research, on the other hand, places red pandas in their own, distinct families.

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Red Pandas are known as Arboreal Acrobats.

Red pandas are expert tree climbers, with sharp, semi-retractable claws similar to those of a cat that they use to hold mossy and slippery tree branches. 

Their bushy tails, which are marked with alternating red and buff rings, are also used as ballasts to keep them balanced.

Red pandas are one of the few creatures who can climb down trees head-first due to their exceptionally flexible ankles.

"Every other animal crawls down with their hind limbs first while they are in the trees," explains Ang Puri Sherpa, country director for the Red Panda Network, a Nepalese group dedicated to the conservation of wild red pandas.

"However, the pandas always crawl down headfirst when you see them."

The fibula and tibia of red pandas are linked in such a way that their feet may rotate 180 degrees, providing their curved claws a stronger hold on tree bark.

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They enjoy bamboo and sweet foods.

Bamboo eating red panda

Credit : Istock

Red pandas are the result of what naturalists call convergent evolution: they're carnivores who, like giant pandas, eat mostly bamboo.

Red pandas have a sweet tooth and supplement their diet with fruits, eggs, insects, and birds.

It also has a pseudo-thumb, a modified wrist bone used to grasp bamboo, like the giant panda.

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Red Pandas are a a little bigger than a Domestic Cat.

However, their tails can add up to 18 inches to their whole length.

Red pandas live alone in trees high in the Himalayas, so they keep warm by wrapping their long, bushy tails around themselves. (They also utilize them to keep themselves balanced.)

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They stand up when provoked or threatened.


Red pandas can stand on their hind legs.

This is a defensive measure because standing up makes them appear larger when provoked or threatened.

They may also make loud noises, defend themselves with sharp claws, or release a bad smell from their scent glands.

If you come across a standing red panda, keep your distance!

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Red Pandas are Carnivores but Vegetarians

Although it may appear to be an oxymoron, carnivore does not necessarily mean meat-eating.

Carnivores are a biological order that includes animals such as bears, dogs, and cats.

While the majority of these species are carnivores, some are omnivores and vegetarians as well.

Red pandas are categorized as carnivores because they share origins with other carnivores, although they only consume bamboo and a few insects.

While giant pandas consume the entire bamboo plant, red pandas only consume the young leaves.

Because this is such a nutritionally deficient food supply, they must spend 13 hours a day eating and seeking food, and in the winter, they can lose up to 15% of their body weight.

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They Are Smelly Socializers

Adult red pandas live alone, while cubs stay with their mothers. Getty Images/David Gray

Except for mothers and their newborn offspring, red pandas prefer to live alone.

Males must try to find a female spouse because they are solitary, and they begin looking for a good mate in the winter and early spring.

Male pandas use smell glands on their foot and at the base of their tail to signal their presence to other pandas.

The glands release a white liquid that pandas find unpleasant but humans find odorless.

They also use a delightful trick called personal poop piles.

"Glass continues, "These feces piles are effectively a messaging board saying, 'Hey, I'm in the neighborhood,'" Glass explains.

"Once a male red panda discovers a female counterpart, it will follow her about and spend out with her for 24 to 48 hours  (1 to 2 days) before she turns around and says, 'OK, you're cute."

Red panda females, like giant pandas, are only fertile for one or two days per year and can delay the implantation of a fertilized egg for weeks.

To ensure babies are born when the most tender and digestible bamboo shoots and leaves are available, red pandas' pregnancy cycle can be as short as 93 days or as long as 156 days.


Their tail is very significant to them.

Red panda wagging Tail

The red panda's tail is long and bushy, with red and buff rings alternating.

It is utilized to assist it in maintaining tree equilibrium. It can be wrapped around themselves to keep warm in the winter.

You can even use it as a pillow in bed!


Red Pandas are born with fur covered on their bodies.

Red pandas are as adorable as you'd expect, weighing between 3 and 4 ounces at birth.

Cubs are born completely covered in fur to protect themselves from the cold at high altitudes.

Red panda pups stay with their mothers for around a year until they are completely developed.


They spend the majority of their time alone.

Red pandas are normally solitary creatures, but during the breeding season, they form pairs.

The female red panda, like the giant panda, is only fertile for one or two days per year.

After mating, the female constructs a nest or gives birth in hollow tree trunks or small caves.

The male red panda rarely helps his female partner in raising their offspring.


Cubs are amusing.


Source : Los Angels Times

A red panda's first few weeks of life are difficult.

Red panda cubs are born in litters of one to four cubs, with a female typically having two offspring.

According to Glass, newborn red pandas are "about the size and shape of a Twinkie," and they nurse and groom for weeks before their eyes open.

They'll start to develop their distinctive reddish color and darker markings around a month old.

"The popcorn stage begins after six weeks," Glass explains. "They just leap around randomly now and then, possibly into a wall, possibly into each other."

They travel outside the cave at about three months old, according to Glass, and only four to five months old do they begin to have actual control over their bodies.

Young pandas pounce and play not only for entertainment but also to improve balance and coordination.

"Red panda young playing with their parents is one of the most lovely types of play behavior I've ever seen," Glatston says. "They'll stand on their hind legs and lift their front paws, then jump on one of their parents," says the author.

Around the age of two, red pandas are considered fully grown, reaching the size of a fluffy house cat.


An Internet Browser Has Been Named After Red Panda.

Firefox, Mozilla's flagship browser, is named after the red panda.

Mozilla had intended to call the browser Firebird but noticed that another open-source project had already used that name. 

To avoid offending anyone, they chose Firefox, which is another name for the red panda.

In 2010, Mozilla adopted two infant red pandas born at Tennessee's Knoxville Zoo, which was a true example of adorableness.


International Red Panda Day is observed

The International Red Panda Day was set up to honor red pandas.

Since 2010, it has been held on the third Saturday of September to raise public awareness and support for red panda conservation, as their lives are in danger by habitat loss and illegal hunting.

There may be as few as ten thousand left in the wild, hiding in the mountain forests of Asian countries such as

  • Nepal, 
  • India,
  • Bhutan,
  • China, and
  • Myanmar. 

In China, they are now protected by legislation.


The featured story may have been created by an independent third party in some cases and may not always represent the views of the institutions listed below who provided the content.