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Red Panda

Classification
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Ailuridae
  • Genus: Ailurus
  • Species: fulgens
Fun Fact

Red pandas are in a class all their own. Originally, they were thought to be members of the raccoon family, then after DNA testing they were thought to be members of the bear family. However, more DNA testing has determined they are their own family – Ailuridae.

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About Red Pandas

Red pandas are built for climbing and spend most of their time in trees, using trees for shelter, to avoid predators and for sun bathing. They have semi-retractable claws and five toes on each paw. Their ankles can rotate which allows them to climb down trees head first.

Female red pandas nest in tree hollows where they raise between one and three cubs. At birth, cubs are covered by thick, wooly gray fur. The cubs leave the care of their mother when they are fully grown at 1 year old.

As a rule, red pandas tend to be quiet, although they do vocalize using squeals, twitters, hisses and grunts to communicate. When in distress, young cubs may whistle to signal for help.

Red Pandas in the Wild

Habitat

Forested mountain ranges where temperatures get extremely cold.

Location

Red pandas inhabit areas in the Himalayas and high mountains of northern Myanmar (Burma) and west Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces of China. They can also be found in mountainous areas of Nepal, India and Tibet.

Diet

Red pandas feed mainly on bamboo; 85-95% of their diet. They will also feed on fruits and acorns and have been known to eat small rodents, young birds and insects.

Population Status

Red panda is listed as “endangered” on IUCN Red List because its population has plausibly declined by 50% over the last three generations (estimated at 18 years) and this decline is projected to continue, and probably intensify, in the next three generations.

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