Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, central China and northern Myanmar. They live at elevation ranging from 4,800-13,000 feet high.
Red pandas live in rainy, high-altitude temperate forests and tropical forests. The forest must have a bamboo understory for it to survive due to the fact that 80-95% of their diet consists of bamboo.
They have long, soft, reddish-brown fur on the upper parts, blackish fur on the lower parts, and a light face with tear markings.
The light face has white badges similar to those of a raccoon, but each individual can have distinctive markings. Their roundish heads have medium-sized upright ears, black noses, and blackish eyes. Their long, bushy tails with six alternating transverse ochre rings provide balance and excellent camouflage against their habitat of moss- and lichen-covered trees. The legs are black and short with thick fur on the soles of the paws. This fur serves as thermal insulation on snow-covered or icy surfaces.
The red panda is specialized as a bamboo feeder with strong, curved and sharp semi-retractile claws standing inward for grasping narrow tree branches, leaves, and fruit. Like the giant panda, it has a “false thumb” which is an extension of the wrist bone. When descending a tree head-first, the red panda rotates its ankle to control its descent, one of the few climbing species to do so.
The red panda is territorial; it is solitary except during mating season. The species is generally quiet except for some twittering, tweeting, and whistling communication sounds. It has been reported to be both nocturnal and crepuscular, sleeping on tree branches or in tree hollows during the day and increasing its activity in the late afternoon and early evening hours. It sleeps stretched out on a branch with legs dangling when it is hot, and curled up with its tail over the face when it is cold.
Red pandas are able to reproduce at around 18 months of age, and are fully mature at two to three years. Adults rarely interact in the wild except to mate. Both sexes may mate with more than one partner during the mating season from mid-January to early March. A few days before birth, females begin to collect material, such as brushwood, grass, and leaves, to build a nest, which is normally located in a hollow tree or a rock crevice. After a gestation period of 112 to 158 days, the female gives birth in mid-June to late July to one to four (usually 1–2) blind and deaf cubs weighing 110 to 130 g (3.9 to 4.6 oz) each.They are born without distinctive markings. They are weaned at 13 to 22 weeks old and do not leave the den until they are three months old. The female raises the young without the help of the male, caring for young for 18-20 months.
If a red panda feels threatened or senses danger, they may try to escape by climbing a rock column or tree. If they can no longer flee, they stand on their hind legs to make themselves appear larger and use the sharp claws on their front paws to defend themselves.
Red pandas were discovered and named before giant pandas. Red pandas are not related to the giant panda. Their closest living relative is the raccoon, however red pandas are classified in their own family. They have many nicknames: lesser panda, cat-bear, bear-cat, Himalayan raccoon, fox bear and firefox.
The primary threats to red pandas are direct harvest from the wild, live or dead, competition with domestic livestock resulting in habitat degradation, and deforestation resulting in habitat loss or fragmentation. The relative importance of these factors is different in each region, and is not well understood.
Worldwide population estimates range from fewer than 2,500 to between 16,000 and 20,000 individuals.
The red panda is protected in all range countries, and hunting is illegal. Beyond this, conservation efforts are highly variable between countries.
|Did YOU Know?|
|The name panda means “bamboo eater.”|
|Length:||Head and body, 20-26 inches; tail 11-23 inches|
|Weight:||10 to 20 pounds|
|Average Lifespan:||Average lifespan is between eight and 10 years|
|Wild Diet:||Bamboo, flowers, berries, birds, eggs, insects|
This is an ssp animal
|Where at the Zoo?||Asian Highlands|