- Their red coats provide camouflage.
- Usually solitary, except for the mating season.
- Have semi retractable claws for climbing.
- Are only active for around half of the day, and have a slow metabolism, so they can rest and digest the low-nutrient bamboo they eat.
- Agile in the trees, using their large tails to balance.
- Groom themselves thoroughly, often after active or rest periods.
Animals — Mammals — Carnivores — Ailuridae (red panda and extinct relatives)
Red pandas are the only mammals of their entire classification family, and there has been lots of debate on which animals it is closest related to. It is currently though to be related the most closely to Musteloids, which includes weasels, otters, raccoons and badgers. It is not that closely related to the giant panda, but they both eat bamboo.
They are classified as “vulnerable” because they suffer from hunting and habitat loss throughout their range. In some areas, one problem is worse than the other, such as China where they suffer more poaching. Their population numbers are not well known as they are nocturnal and shy, and estimates range widely from 2,500 to 20,000 individuals. However, it is quite adaptable to live in captivity and breeds well.
Habitat: Temperate forest that may be deciduous or coniferous, with an under story of bamboo.
–Average weight: 5kg
–Average length: 58cm
In the wild up to: 14 years (average 9)
In captivity up to: 13.4 years
Diet: Almost exclusively eats bamboo, but will occasionally also eat roots, leaves, blossoms, fruits, and potentially small eggs.
Distribution: India, Bhutan, Burma, Tibet, Nepal, Sichuan and China.