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The Red Panda

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

The Red Panda

When you hear someone mention pandas, you probably think of a large, black and white giant panda. But, there’s a smaller, less well known animal that shares the name. The red panda is much smaller, about the size of a house cat, with reddish-orange fur and a big bushy tail. They use their ringed tail as a blanket when it’s cold, which happens often as they live in the mountains of Nepal, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, and India.

Red pandas live most of their lives in the trees, and even sleep there. Like giant pandas, red pandas like bamboo, but unlike giant pandas, they also eat fruits, acorns, roots, and eggs. They have an extended wrist bone that acts like a thumb, which helps them grip branches. They’re nocturnal, so they forage at night.

Red pandas have been classified as relatives of giant pandas, and raccoons. Right now, they’re members of their own family, the Ailuridae.

Red pandas aren’t endangered yet, but their population is decreasing, mostly due to deforestation. Their habitat is being destroyed by loggers, who clear forests to use the space for agriculture. Currently, their population is less than 10,000.

Fun facts:

  1. Red pandas can run up to 40 kmph, or 24 mph

  2. 5 million year old red panda fossils have been found in North America

  3. Red pandas love winter. They play in the snow, and can withstand temperatures up to -30°C, or -22°F

  4. The red panda is the first panda. Red pandas were named 1825,48 years before the giant panda. The giant panda was named because of its similarities to the red panda.

  5. Red pandas clean themselves like cats, by using their paws.

  6. Female red pandas make nests before birth. They use grass, leaves, branches, and moss, and arrange it in a tree stump or hollow tree

  7. Red pandas are also called the lesser panda, the red cat-bear, the red bear-cat, or the firefox.

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