Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (2024)

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is endemic to the Himalayas in Bhutan, southern China, India, Laos, Nepal and Burma.

The Red Panda is the state animal in the Indian state of Sikkim. The Red Panda is also the mascot of the Darjeeling international festivals. Red Pandas look quite different to the Giant Pandas, they more resemble the appearance of a racoon or weasel type animal.

Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (2)

The Red Panda is also known as the ‘Lesser PandaWah Cat Bear’, or ‘Firefox’. The reference to being called a ‘Wah’ is because of its distinctive cry. Red Pandas are most closely related to the racoon and are now in a family (Ailuridea) of their own. Most can be found in the temperate forests of the Himalayas and some high mountain areas of China and Myanmar (Burma).

The sub-family of Red Pandas is divided into two sub-species:

Ailurus fulgens styani, which are native to northern Myanmar and south-central China


Ailurus fulgens fulgens, which is native to Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and the Indian states of Assam and Sikkim. Ailurus fulgens: Latin: ‘fire-colored cat’.

Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (3)

Red Panda Physical Characteristics

Red pandas have soft, dense fur that protects them from cool temperatures. The fur on the upper side of the animal is reddish-brown in color while its underside and legs are black. The soles of the Red Pandas feet are covered with white fur. The Red Pandas compact face and the borders around the ears are primarily white.

The red panda has reddish brown mask-like markings over the eyes and dense, furry tail alternately marked with reddish and light brown rings. Their tail really does resemble that of a raccoons.

The Red Panda has semi-retractile claws and like the Giant panda, has a false thumb which is really an extension of the wrist bone.

Red Panda Habitat

Red pandas live in remote mountainous areas of the Himalayas in dense forest and bamboo thickets. The forests have a dense under story of bamboo and small trees. Red panda habitat temperatures usually fall between 10 – 25 degrees centigrade. Red pandas also inhibit elevation ranges from 6,000 – 12,000 feet.

Red Panda Diet

Just like the giant panda, the red panda is a bamboo eater and its diet is mainly bamboo. During summers, the red panda may feed on fruits, mushrooms, leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, lichens and acorns. Although considered herbivorous, the red panda will occasionally take birds eggs and it is speculated that they may eat mice and birds on occasions. Because the nutrient level of bamboo is so low, the Red panda has a slow metabolism and spends a good part of its day foraging.

The Red pandas digestive system is also like the digestive system of the giant panda. The Red panda is more suited to a carnivorous diet. However, it cannot digest cellulose, so it must consume a large volume of bamboo to survive and is therefore classed as mostly herbivorous.

Red Panda Social Behaviour

The Red panda is nocturnal and is mostly active in the early morning and late afternoon spending most of the day resting in trees conserving their energy as their bamboo diet has a low energy content. Red pandas are normally solitary creatures, however, they form pairs in the breeding season.

Red pandas appear to be territorial. Red pandas use glandular sacs in their anal regions which produce a scent which they use to mark territorial boundaries by rubbing their sacs on various objects in the wild. Additionally, they may also mark territory by using regular defecation sites. Red pandas have a mild, non-aggressive disposition.

Red Panda Reproduction

The gestation period of the female red panda is about 3 months. During this time, the female will make a nest out of grass and twigs in either a hollow tree or rock crevasse. Up to 3 newborn cubs are then delivered into the nest. Breeding season occurs from mid-January to early March and cubs are usually born between mid-May and mid-July. Red pandas reach sexual maturity around a year old.

Newborn red panda cubs weigh around 4 – 5 ounces. They are fully furred and pale yellow in color. Just like Giant Panda cubs, they are blind at birth and rely totally on their mother for care and survival. When the cubs are 3 weeks old, they open their eyes. Red panda cubs start to take on the adult red panda coloration at about 90 days old. Red panda cubs are weaned at 5 months and stay with their mother until the next litter is about to be born, which is about a year after their birth.

Male red pandas do not share the raising of the cubs, it is completely left to the mother red panda to raise and care for the cubs herself. Red pandas can live up to 14 years in captivity. It is not sure, however, how long they actually live in the wild.

Red Panda Conservation Status

Red Pandas are listed as endangered by IUCN and Appendix II under CITES.

The major threats to the red pandas are loss of habitat due to deforestation and forest fragmentation.

Red Pandas are often killed for their coats to make fur hats and clothes. Because of the growing human population in China, Red Panda habitats are being cleared to build houses. Approximately 10,000 pandas die per year, and approximately 7,000 of the 10,000 die from deforestation.

Red Panda Pictures

Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (4)
Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (5)
Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (6)

More Red Panda Pictures

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  • Red Kite - A Symbol of Hope and Good Luck

Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information (2024)


Red Panda - Facts, Diet & Habitat Information? ›

The red panda's diet is 98% bamboo, but unlike giant pandas, they will also gather food from other sources. They sometimes eat acorns, fruit, roots, eggs, rodents, and small birds. Red pandas usually gather and eat food at night. During the day, they rest and sunbathe in the forest canopy.

What is a red pandas habitat and diet? ›

Red pandas, like giant pandas, are bamboo eaters native to Asia's high forests. Despite these similarities and their shared name, the two species are not closely related. Red pandas are much smaller than giant pandas and are the only living member of their taxonomic family.

How many red pandas are left in 2024? ›

Endangered. It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 and as few as 2,500 red pandas remaining in the wild.

What is the habitat of the panda? ›

Native Habitat

Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in south central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains.

What are 5 things red pandas eat? ›

They like eating bamboo and sweet food

Red pandas are the result of what naturalists call convergent evolution: they're classified as carnivores, while like giant pandas, they feed mainly on bamboo. Red pandas supplement their diet with fruits, eggs, insects and birds, and they have a sweet tooth.

Who is destroying red pandas habitat? ›

Livestock herding is a major driver of red panda habitat destruction. Herders cut down trees to maintain sheds and collect fuelwood from the forest. Unsustainable herding practices degrade habitat quality as livestock graze in the forest and eat and trample bamboo and other red panda food species.

What are 10 things red pandas eat? ›

Red pandas feed mainly on leaves and bamboo, but occasionally snack on fruit, insects, bird eggs and small lizards, too.

Why are there only 10,000 red pandas? ›

Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are major threats to wild red pandas. Poaching is also one of the threats to this species, as red pandas are killed for food, medicine, pet trade and their distinctive red fur.

What are 10 facts about red pandas? ›

Before Seeing 'Turning Red,' Learn These Amazing Red Panda Facts
  • They Are the Only “True” Panda. ...
  • They Mostly Eat Vegetation. ...
  • They are Arboreal Acrobats. ...
  • Their Fur Provides Camouflage. ...
  • Their Home Is Fragmented. ...
  • They Are Smelly Socializers. ...
  • Cubs Are Playful. ...
  • They Can Endure Cold Weather.
Mar 11, 2022

How many babies can a red panda have? ›

After a gestation period of 90 to 145 days, the female gives birth to a litter of one to four, usually one or two young.

Can red pandas be pets? ›


So, next time you see a 'cute' video of a red panda, or any other endangered species, being kept as a pet please don't share it. It may be innocent, however the more shares and views these videos get, the more demand there is for people to take them from the wild.

How long do red pandas live? ›

They prefer Temperate forest with a thick Bamboo understory. Lifespan: Red pandas may live as long as 23 years. They show symptoms of age at around 12 to 14 years old. Gestation: 1-4 cubs are born after 135 day gestation period.

How long are pandas pregnant? ›

Panda gestation length ranges from 90 to 180 days, with an average pregnancy lasting 135 days. This wide variation in gestation occurs because the fertilized egg usually floats freely in the mother's uterus before it implants and begins developing.

How many pandas are left? ›

About 1,850 giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are alive in the wild, and about 300 live in captivity.

What are the habits of red pandas? ›

Red pandas are crepuscular, arboreal and solitary. They are most active during the twilight hours of early morning and evening (crepuscular), spending most of the day resting in trees (arboreal), conserving their energy. Red pandas are normally solitary creatures but come together in pairs in the breeding season.

What is the red panda's favorite food? ›

  • Bamboo leaves and shoots comprise 95% of diet.
  • Unlike the typical carnivore diet, bamboo is low in protein and fat, but high in fiber.
  • Other species adapted to a bamboo diet include Giant panda, Bamboo lemurs (3 species), Bamboo rats (3 species)

What is the diet of a panda? ›

A panda's diet is 99% vegetarian, which mostly includes bamboo roots, stems, shoots and leaves. However their digestive system is typical of a carnivore, so the remaining 1% of their diet can include eggs, small animals and carrion.

What is a panda's favorite food? ›

Pandas subsist almost entirely on bamboo, eating from 26 to 84 pounds per day. Though solitary animals, pandas still communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths.


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