The red panda is a small mammal that can be natively found in the Eastern Himalayas and south-western China. It is slightly larger in size than a domestic cat, with thick reddish-brown fur and a bear-like body. There are white markings on the sides of its head and above its eyes similar to a raccoon, and their belly and limbs are black. Red pandas are very acrobatic and are often found in trees. Their long, bushy tails are used for balance and to cover themselves in winter for warmth. They are primarily herbivores and feed off of bamboo, however they have been observed to also eat birds, bugs, berries, and other small mammals. Due to their low-calorie diets, they primarily spend their day eating and sleeping.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The scientific name of the red panda is ailurus fulgens.
- There are less than 10,000 red pandas left in the wild.
- The red panda has been rated as vulnerable by the IUCN.
- Almost 50% of the red panda population is in the Eastern Himalayas.
- Adult red pandas are often about 2 feet long in length.
- Red pandas can taste artificial sweeteners such as aspartame - they are the only non-primate known to be able to do so.
- The name "panda" is said to come from the Nepali word ponya, which means bamboo or plant-eating animal.
- Despite their name, the red panda is actually not related to the giant panda.