Genus & Species (Scientific Name): Ailurus Fungens
Size: 79-120 cm including tail length of 30-60cm
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Diet: Bamboo, roots, acorns, berries, lichens, eggs, small birds
Habitat: Himalayas, Myanmar, Szechuan and Yunnan Provinces of China: mountain slopes and bamboo forests
Endangered Species: Less than 2,500 adults alive due to habitat destruction. They are one of the world’s most endangered species
About the Red Panda
Although it is the closest relative of its more famous cousin the giant panda, red pandas and giant pandas are not as closely related as one might think. The red panda is much smaller than the giant panda, and in appearance more closely resembles a raccoon, especially because of its long, striped bushy tail.
In color the red panda is a rusty red color with black limbs and white markings. The red and white coloration provides excellent camouflage among the red and white lichens which grow in their natural habitat. The fur provides warmth in the winter and their long bushy tails help them keep their balance in the trees.
The name panda which links the two animals refers to what they eat. It is derived from the Nepalese word “nigalya ponya” which means “eater of bamboo.” Although both red pandas and giant pandas eat bamboo, the red panda’s diet is not exclusively bamboo like the giant panda’s is.
Red pandas are arboreal creatures, living mostly in the trees. They are solitary animals, keeping mostly to themselves. Red pandas are very territorial. They are also crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
During mating season red pandas become somewhat social, but this does not last for long. Once they have mated they return to living alone.
Gestation period for the red panda is somewhat lengthy. It lasts around 4 to 5 months. A red panda litter has between 1 and 4 baby red pandas. The young typically stay in the nest for about 90 days and remain close to the mother until the next mating season begins. They are full grown and sexually mature after about a year and a half.
The red panda is also known as lesser panda, red bear cat, fox bear, Himalayan raccoon, and wah (because of its unique cry).
The red panda is the national animal of the province of Sikkim in India.
The red panda is the mascot of international festivals in the Indian city of Darjeeling.
The Chinese name for the red panda is “huo-ho” which literally means “fire-fox.”
The red panda was first discovered in 1821.
Red pandas can eat as much as 45% of their own body weight in a single day.