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Red Panda

Red Panda

Red Panda

Red Panda Range Map (S to SE Asia)
Red Panda Range Map (S to SE Asia)

Red Panda
Latin Name Ailurus fulgens
Conservation Status Endangered
Location S to SE Asia
Colour Red/Brown or Chestnut
Length 50 - 64 cms (20 - 25 inches)
Tail 28 - 50 cms (11 - 20 inches)
Weight 3 - 6 Kgs (6.5 - 13 lbs)
Life Expectancy

8 - 14 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Red Pandas are small raccoon like mammals. They have a body length between 50 and 64 cms (20 - 25 inches), a tail length between 28 and 50 cms (11 - 20 inches) and they weigh between 3 and 6 kgs (6.5 - 13 lbs).

They have long, soft fur that is red/brown or chestnut in colour, with their underside being darker. They have alternating light and dark rings on their long, bushy tail.

Their legs are short and dark in colour, and they have thick fur on the soles of their paws that hides scent glands and acts as thermal insulation on ice and snow covered surfaces. Red Pandas are specialized bamboo feeders and they have strong, sharp, curved, semi-retractable claws. Like the Giant Panda, they have a "false thumb" that really is an extension of the wrist bone.

They have medium sized ears that are light in colour around the rims. They have light coloured cheeks, muzzle and spots above their eyes and brown stripes below their eyes. Their nose is black and their eyes are very dark in colour.

They move quite slowly on the ground but they are very agile up in the trees, which is where they spend most of their time.


Red Pandas are found in the dense, temperate mountain forests of south to south east Asia at altitudes of 1,800 - 4,000 m (6,000 - 13,200 ft).

They make nests in tree holes, branch forks, tree roots and bamboo thickets where they rest during the day before they become active in the evening and during the night.

They are solitary except during the breeding season and they scent mark their territory with urine, droppings and secretions from their anal glands.


Red Pandas mainly feed on bamboo, grasses, roots, fruit, grubs, bird's eggs and small vertebrates such as mice, chicks and lizards.

Two thirds of their diet consists of bamboo and they consume over 1.5 kgs (3.3 lbs) of fresh leaves and 4 kgs (8.8 lbs) of fresh shoots per day.


From May - July and after a gestation period of 112 - 158 days, 1 - 4 cubs are born in a nest lined with moss, leaves and other soft plant material.

At birth the cubs weigh 110 - 130 g (3.9 - 4.6 oz) and they begin to open their eyes when they are approximately 18 days old. After 12 weeks the cubs leave the nest and by the time they reach 8 months old they are weaned.

The young Red Pandas remain with their mother until a new litter of cubs are born the following summer. They reach their full adult size at 12 months and sexual maturity at 18 months old.


Predators of Red Pandas include snow leopards, martens and humans.


There are two subspecies of Red Panda:

Ailurus fulgens fulgens
This is the larger subspecies and they tend to be lighter in colour. They are found in the Himalayas and southern Tibet.

Ailurus fulgens slyani
They have more striking facial markings and are found in south west China and north Burma.

Interesting Facts

Red Pandas are also known as:
Lesser Panda
Red Cat Bear

The loss of their natural habitat is the main threat to Red Pandas and they are a protected species in Nepal and China.

Ailurus fulgens means "shining cat".

Red Pandas are very heat sensitive and they cannot tolerate temperatures above 25°C (77°F)

It is estimated that there are less than 2,500 Red Pandas left in the wild.

The Red Panda is the state animal in the Indian state of Sikkim.

The Red Panda is the mascot of the Darjeeling international festivals.

Similar Animals

Common Raccoon
Crab-Eating Raccoon
Mountain Coati
White-Nosed Coati
South American Coati


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