Red Panda Facts

Some little known – Red Panda Facts

I have to be honest, my knowledge of Red Pandas was extremely vague; until quite recently.

While researching an article on The Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas, I started to become interested in the plight of Red Pandas as I began to unearth facts about them.

Red Panda facts - Fighting in the snow

Red Pandas Fighting in the snow
By su neko [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So, I thought if I found it so interesting, maybe you would find it of interest too.

From the temperate Himalayan forests of western Nepal to the high mountain slopes of southwestern China, the red panda (Ailurus fulgens), like the giant panda, is a mostly herbivorous mammal that feeds mainly on bamboo.

But that is where the similarities with its larger and more recognizable black and white distant cousin seem to end.

Red Panda facts - Red panda in tree

Red Panda climbing
By Ravi Poorun – kekett [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Red pandas look more like raccoons and are slightly larger than a domestic house cat (they even have feline-like whiskers), growing to about 50-63cm in length and weighing up to 6kg.They are skillful climbers that, when not foraging on the ground, spend most of their time in the trees curled up with their long, bushy tails wrapped around their heads.A thick reddish-brown fur offers additional protection from the cold, often harsh, mountain weather.The word panda comes from the Nepalese “poonya” which means bamboo eater.While the giant panda is sometime called the black and white cat-foot, the red panda is known as the red cat bear or lesser panda.

Red Panda – Under threat

While it may be ‘lesser’ in size than the giant panda, both species are threatened by less habitat and deforestation.

Red Panda facts - Ailurus fulgens

Ailurus fulgens
By Brian.gratwicke at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

An increase in human population, particularly in China and Nepal, has seen the red panda’s bamboo forest homes cut down and cleared for timber, fuel and agriculture land, pushing them to more remote, fragmented – and often unprotected – mountain areas.

Although protected internationally and in Nepal, the red panda remains highly endangered; this is the most scary of the – Red Panda Facts.

Over 75% of potential red panda habitat falls outside of protected areas.

Protecting the red panda and its fragile environment is vital to preserving the region’s natural heritage and global biodiversity.

Red Panda facts - Red Panda close-up

Red Panda close-up
By Christian Mehlführer, User:Chmehl. Edit by Böhringer (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Red Panda protection
Conservation work by the World Wild Fund and its partners is currently underway in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape, which encompasses more than two-thirds of Nepal’s remaining red panda habitat.For a full report on Red Panda facts, see the … WWF
The survival of the red panda and the protection of its habitat will ensure that people living in the region continue to reap ecosystem benefits for many generations.

Here follows a list of Red Panda facts which should cover most things you might be concerned with.

Description

  • Adult red pandas weigh about 4-6 kg and are around 1.7 m in length
  • Red panda babies weigh in the region of 150-200g
  • Red pandas are rusty-red colored with white markings on their faces and black fur on their shoulders and legs.  They have bushy tails with black rings of color
  • Mothers have between one and four cubs each year.
  • Cubs stay with their mothers for one and a half years.
  • Red pandas usually live less than 10 years in the wild but may live for 12-14 years in captivity.
  • Red pandas are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and at dusk.
  • They live alone or in small family groups.
  • They spend the majority of their day eating bamboo, their favorite food.
  • Red pandas spend most of their lives in the treetops of the wet, mountainous temperate forests of western China, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).
  • Predators of the red panda are snow leopards and martens.
  • Red pandas are omnivorous.
  • Bamboo is the main food of red pandas, but they also eat the roots, fruits and nuts of other plants.

For a very indepth view of red panda facts see… Globio.org

Human hunters sometimes poach red pandas for their beautiful fur, but red pandas are protected and hunting them is illegal.

Red Panda facts - Ailurus Fulgens in tree

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I hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse into the life of yet another of our endangered species and please do leave a comment below if you have anything to add on: Red panda facts, and do remember to click the share button, many thanks.

1 comment
Jenn

You have some really nice pictures in this article. I believe that we have to do more to save the Red Panda and Giant Panda’s habitat. I would be very sad if these animals go extinct.

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