Red panda

Species of small mammal from the Ailuridae family. Native to Eastern Himalayas and Southwest China.

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal. It is the only species of the Ailuridae family. There are two subspecies: Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens styani. It is also known as lesser panda, cat-bear, bear-cat and firefox.

Red panda
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Ailurus fulgens

Overview change

Most that are bred at Japanese zoos are Ailurus fulgens styani. They are called レッサーパンダ in Japan and 小熊貓 (xiǎo xìong māo) in China, both literally translating to English as "small bear-cat", or "fox-bear". They have become popular for how they look.[1] The IUCN classes them as 'vulnerable'

The red panda is not closely related to the giant panda: they are in different families, but share a vegetarian diet. They have both adapted to eating plant material, which is unusual for members of the Carnivora.

French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier first described the western red panda Ailurus fulgens fulgens in 1825, 48 years before the black and white bear was classified.[2]

A scientist by the name Brian Houghton Hodgson was one of the first people to look more deeply into the Red Panda because up until he did, there was not much known about the species. In addition to Bamboo, the Red Panda also eats fruits, tuberous roots, acorns, and beechmast. The Red Panda is not necessarily nocturnal but is classified as crepuscular which means they are active around dawn and sleep during the night and midday. Besides how they slept, Hodgson observed that they were monogamous and only breed once a year.

Habitat change

The red panda lives in the southern part of China, Sikkim, Nepal, and the Himalaya mountains in high trees. In the Indian kingdom of Sikkim it is the state animal. As an endangered species it is protected by laws in the countries where it lives. 2 nearly complete skeletons have been found at the Gray Fossil Site in Gray, Tennessee.

Appearance and life change

Red pandas are about 50-60 centimeters long. They weigh between three and five kilograms. They have chestnut colored hair, and their faces have white designs. They eat fruits, roots, bamboo shoots, acorns, and insects. They are active at night and sleep on trees in the daytime. Red pandas sleep in their tail. A red panda's tail can measure from 30 to 50 centimeters long (Almost the length of their body) which provides them with supreme balance while navigating the treetops. They will also use these tails as wraparound blankets in their chilly mountain habitat.[3] They act alone, not in groups. They eat blossoms, berries, various plants, and bird eggs. They have thumb-like appenages for grabbing Bamboo, similar to giant pandas. Red pandas feed mainly on bamboo using their opposable thumb. While their thumb-like appendages can be used in the same way as that of giant pandas, it is believed that the red panda’s opposable thumbs may have evolved as an adaptation for grasping branches in trees rather than for stripping bamboo.[4] The red panda can be found spending most of their day on top of tree branches. Their thumb-like appendages make them skilled climbers. [5]They live eight to ten years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.[6] They are particularly carnivore. They have the digestive system of a carnivore, but they are practically vegetarians.[7]

References change

Glatston, A. R. (2011). Red panda biology and conservation of the first panda (1st ed.). Academic Press.

  1. "Red pandas, facts and photos". National Geographic.
  2. "Red Panda | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants". Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  3. "15 Fantastic Facts About Red Pandas". Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  4. "Top 5 facts about Red Pandas". WWF. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  5. "Is a Red Panda a Bear? And More Red Panda Facts". Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2023-09-16.
  6. Schmidt, Amanda (2023-03-03). "Red Panda Fact Sheet | Blog | Nature | PBS". Nature. Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  7. "Is a Red Panda a Bear? And More Red Panda Facts". Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2023-09-05.