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Red Panda

Pepper Family Wildlife Center

Did You Know?

  • Red pandas were the first animals to be called pandas. Giant pandas were named because people mistakenly believed they were related to red pandas.
  • Bamboo makes up more than 90 percent of their diet.
  • Red pandas are one of only a few animals that can climb down trees headfirst, thanks to unique anatomical features.

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Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens

Class: Mammals

Diet: Young leaves and shoots of bamboo, fruits, roots, acorns, grasses, eggs, and insects

Range: East Asia and the Himalayas

Endangered Status: Endangered

More Information

Red pandas are medium-sized animals that weigh up to 20 pounds and get to be 26 inches long without their tails. They have an extended wrist bone, or “pseudo-thumb,” which helps them grasp tree branches and bamboo. Initially, naturalists thought they were related to raccoons, then put them in the bear family, but they are now classified as the only living member of the Ailuridae family. They are indeed related to raccoons, but only distantly.

These mammals spend most of their lives in treetops and are adapted to conserve heat. They can adjust their metabolic rate, curl into a tight ball, and wrap their tail around their body to keep warm. Red pandas are shy and solitary but do come together once a year to mate. They give birth in May through August and have one or two cubs at a time. Offspring leave their mother after a year.

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