The red panda is a relative of the giant panda. The red panda is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas, central China, northern Myanmar. The Latin for red panda is Ailurus Fulgens. Ailurus means cat and Fulgens means fire coloured or shining.
The red panda weighs 4.5 kilograms to 9 kilograms. They have large round heads and short snouts with large pointed ears. Their coats are reddish brown although their faces are mostly white with reddish tear tracks running down the side of their face. Red pandas also have retractable claws. They have long bushy tails for balance.
Red pandas share the giant panda’s high altitude forest habitat. They spend most of their lives in trees even sleeping aloft. Red panda’s territory is roughly one square mile.
Red pandas eat bamboo shoots and leaf tips. They can be herbivore or omnivore. They forage for rats, grasses and fruits. Sometimes they will eat eggs, insects, birds and small mammals but mostly bamboo.
Red pandas are solitary except for breeding season, which is from January to April. New-born red pandas are born with thick buff grey fur. They are born with their eyes and ears closed, they open after 2 to 3 weeks. The babies remain hidden for 7 to 10 days. They eat solid at 4 months old. When in distress they use a high pitched whistle. They have grown up at 18 to 20 months when driven away.
Fun facts: The first red panda fossil was found in the United Kingdom. Red pandas are endangered. It is estimated at fewer than 10,000 are alive.
By Kate Houlihan 14/2/19