Red Panda Facts | China Wildlife Guide
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICSRed pandas resemble raccoons, possessing a round head with white badges, a pointed snout
Males and females look relatively similar. Their white face has ruddy tear markings, which run from their small eyes to their throat. The pelage on the red panda’s upper body is reddish-brown, while its undersides and legs are a lustrous black. The soles of its feet have a dense covering of white fur. The forelegs of a red panda are angled inward, resulting in a waddling walk.
GEOGRAPHIC RANGE & HABITATThere are two subspecies, A. f.
Red pandas inhabit temperate deciduous and coniferous forests at altitudes of 5,000 and 13,000 feet. They feed on the forests thick bamboo and find shelter in the forests hollow trees.
FEEDING HABITSBamboo leaves are the red panda’s primary food source. The red panda will grasp and bow the bamboo with its forepaw to bring the leaves to mouth-level. Plant material is
BEHAVIORThe behavior of a red panda varies throughout the year according to climate, the abundance of food, and the presence of cubs. These normally solitary creatures are nocturnal and are most active between dusk and dawn.
Red pandas are arboreal and spend most of their time in trees when they’re not foraging. They move from branch to branch, and gracefully descend from trees headfirst. The red panda uses its bushy tail for balance when climbing. After eating or sleeping, red pandas stretch, give themselves a thorough cleaning, washing their face with their paws, and rubbing themselves against a nearby rock or tree.
Red pandas use body movements to communicate with one another. These include staring, arching the back and tail, moving the head while puffing or jaw-clapping, and standing on hind legs with forepaws held above the head. When afraid or aggressive, a red panda will take up a bipedal stance and make hissing spits or snorts. If threatened, it may also climb a tree or strike out with its semi-retractile claws.
BREEDINGRed pandas become sexually mature at approximately 18 months of age. Adult males and females typically only come together during the breeding season, which occurs between early January and mid-March. During this time males will urinate or
Six weeks before delivery, females grow heavier and more lethargic. In the days preceding labor, the female gathers grasses, leaves
Red panda young weigh between three and five ounces at birth. Females have olfactory memory and can recognize their young by the odors they emit directly after birth. After the first week, the mother spends less and less time with her young, returning every couple of hours to nurse and groom her cubs, in addition to keeping the nest tidy. Fathers play little to no role in rearing their offspring.
The cubs remain nest-bound for 90 days, at which point, they take their first steps out of the nest. The mother shares a close bond with her young until the start of the next mating season when they become aggressive. Pandas are weaned at about 12
CONSERVATIONThe red panda is a rare species, whose numbers continue to decline. Deforestation is the primary threat to the red pandas’ survival. Habitat fragmentation from logging and agriculture have resulted in the loss of bamboo and threatened their numbers. Red pandas are also hunted, and cubs are sold in the illegal pet trade. The red panda is an endangered species and is protected under their listing in Appendix I of CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Threatened and Endangered Species.
Header Credit: Justin Gibson
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