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. Pandas are much smaller than giant pandas and are the only living member of their taxonomic family. Red Panda!
Red pandas or firefox are small mammals with long, fluffy tails and red and white markings. Though they share a name with the more famous giant panda, they are not closely related. In fact, the name ‘panda’ was first applied to these animals, and not to the larger black-and-white bear.
Also called lesser panda, panda, red cat-bear, or red bear-cat. Reddish brown, long-tailed, raccoonlike mammal, about the size of a large domestic cat, that is found in the mountain forests of the Himalayas.
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.
The red panda lives high in the mountains among rocks and trees and climbs with agility. It seems to do most of its feeding on the ground. It is nocturnal and may live alone, in pairs, or in family groups.
The litters generally contain one or two young that are born in spring after a gestation period of about 130 days. The animal is gentle and easily tamed but usually resents being handled. It is a very popular zoo animal and is frequently involved in the animal trade.
The red panda’s diet is very unusual for a mammal and consists mostly of bamboo. When the weather is warm enough, they also eat insects and fruit. Although the giant panda eats almost every part of the bamboo plant. The red panda only eats the youngest, most tender shoots and leaves.
In addition, the red panda chews the bamboo thoroughly, whereas the giant panda hardly chews at all. It is likely that the range of the bamboo has increased and decreased with changes in global temperature and moisture, and fortunately for the red panda, bamboo still thrives in many parts of the Southern Asia.
Red pandas scent-mark territories using anal glands and urine, as well as scent glands located between their foot pads. These scent glands on the bottom of red pandas’ feet exude a colorless liquid that is odorless to humans.
The red panda tests odors using the underside of its tongue. Which has a cone-like structure for collecting liquid and bringing it close to a gland inside its mouth. It is the only carnivore with this adaptation.
Red pandas may live as long as 23 years. They show symptoms of age at around 12 to 14 years old. While females do not breed after age 12, males continue to be reproductively capable.
The current Panda distribution is detailed in three Population and Habitat Viability Analyses since 2010, covering all range states holding the species: Nepal (2010), China and Myanmar (2012), and India and Bhutan (2013).
As discussed by Roberts and Gittleman (1984), Panda distribution range should be considered disjunct, not continuous. Reports, including a shot animal of undoubted identification and provenance, of a population on the Meghalaya Plateau of northeastern India, in anomalously tropical habitat (Choudhury 2001, Duckworth 2011) warrant investigation as soon as possible.
Captive Pandas from the main distribution and habitat do not breed well in tropical conditions (Princee and Glatston in prep); the Meghalaya Pandas, if native, might be a separate taxon.
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. And are often killed for their coats to make fur hats and clothes.
Because of the growing human population in China. Approximately 10,000 pandas die per year, and approximately 7,000 of the 10,000 die from deforestation.