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Red Panda

Red Panda / Lesser Panda Facts

Size Up to 25 in (64 cm)
Speed Up to 24 mph (38 km/h)
Weight 10-14 lb (4.5-6 kg)
Lifespan 8-10 years
Food Bamboo, birds, lizards, insects
Predators Snow leopards, martens
Habitat Nepal, Burma, China
Order Carnivore
Family Ailuridae
Scientific name Ailurus fulgens
Characteristics Red fur, long bushy tail

Main Characteristics

Red pandas are predators. They are about as tall and as heavy as a really big cat. They inhabit the forests of the Himalaya, from Nepal over Burma all the way to China. They spend a lot of time on trees where they eat bamboo, rest and sleep.

Photo: Edwin Butter/Shutterstock


What Kind of Animal Is the Red Panda?

Biologists still hold differing views: Is the red panda really a genuine panda? It shares its habitat with the giant panda it also likes to eat bamboo and has an extra thumb for climbing just like its bigger "cousin". Or is it just a kind of raccoon? Its ringed tail and its bodily frame look very similar. Or is it a cat? The red panda is often also called red cat-bear. Biologists have not yet been able to pigeon-hole the red panda, and thus have categorized it as a member of the family of "Ailuridae".


Red Panda Photo: Canon Boy/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

Red Color

Between the green bamboo plants, the red fur does not seem to be the optimal camouflage. Yet, the trees on which the red panda spends its live are often overgrown with red mosses and lichens.

Bushy Tail

The tail of the red panda can be as long as the animal itself: up to 24 inch (60 cm)! The panda cannot use it to hold on to branches, but it helps not to lose balance. When taking a nap, the panda protects its face with its tail and uses it just like a sleep mask.

Red Panda Photo: Matthew J. Glass/Shutterstock


Red pandas spend 13 hours per day with looking for bamboo and eating. They put away about 2-4 pounds (1-2 kg), which is approximately 20-30% of their own weight (a little more than 13 pounds; 6 kg). So a human weighing 130 pounds (60 kg) would have to shove 26-40 pounds (12-18 kg) of food in its mouth!



They Use Their Paws to Drink

If the red panda is thirsty, it dips its paw into the water and licks the water off.

Senses and Abilities


Red pandas can run up to 24 mph (38 km/h) on short distances.


You might think that the Red Panda would growl like a bear, but no, the little redhead whistles and twitters like a bird. Funny, isn’t it?

Life Expectancy

In their natural habitat, red pandas reach an age of 8-10 years. At the zoo, they get a little bit older, up to 15 years.

Enemies and Threats

Predators of the Red Panda mainly include snow leopards and martens.

Fun Facts

Where Does the Name Come From?

Originally, „panda“ is a Nepalese word and means „bamboo eater“.

Who Was First, Giant Panda or Red Panda?

The red panda was described for the first time in 1821, 48 years before the giant panda was first mentioned in scientific documents.

Firefox Web Browser

In order to navigate through the internet, you need a web browser which enables you to enter web addresses (= URLs). Most people use Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Firefox is named after the red panda (in China the little animal of prey is also called "firefox").

The Red Panda Is Related To:

Animals in the Same Biome:

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