Our Top 10 Red Panda Facts for International Red Panda Day

International Red Panda Day is celebrated globally on September 18th each year. With today marking the 2021 celebration of these adorable animals we bring you our Top 10 favorite facts about the red panda.

Read on to find out the 10 coolest facts about these amazing Asian animals.

International Red Panda Day

Photo Credit: Cale Russell

1. Life in the treetops

Red pandas are built for a life in the trees. Its here that they complete much of their feeding and resting. To assist with climbing they are equipped for semi-retractable claws on their feet. This prevents the claws being damaged when walking across the ground so they remain sharp for climbing.

Their soles are covered by fur to help keep them warm and to stop them slipping on a wet branch.

2. A tricky tail

These animals have long tails colored red and ringed with six yellowish rings. Measuring between 28 and 49cm (11 and 19in) long it is used to help them keep their balance while climbing.

This tail also serves as a helpful little blanket when climbing in the trees.

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3. Not only bamboo

While pandas are famous for feeding on bamboo they are an omnivore which will feed on both plant matter and animal prey. The species feeds on bamboo leaves and shoots, flowers, acorns, fruit, animal prey such as birds, small rodents and eggs though this is rare.

4. A Little panda needs a lot of food

Weighing in at just 3 to 6.2kg (6 to 14lbs) (with the males being larger) these tiny animals need lots of food. This is due to their inability to effectively process the cellulose in their food. As such each day they will consume 1.5kg (3.3lbs) of leaves and 4kgs (8.8lbs) of shoots each day.

International Red Panda Day

Photo Credit: Cale Russell

5. Time for a Nap

Another downside of the low quality of their diet is that it provides little energy. As they require such large quantities of food to combat this they will spend up to 13 hours each day foraging. The rest of their time is mainly spent napping.

6. Life in the mountains

Red pandas are native to Asia where the can be found in Myanmar, Nepal and China.

They make their home in mountainous areas and cool temperature bamboo forests.

International Red Panda Day

Photo Credit: Cale Russell

7. Mums and Cubs

A baby red panda is known as a cub. Mothers give birth in a nest which is built in a hollow tree log or small cave. She carries the babies for 100 to 145 days and gives care to the young until weaning at 6-8 months old.

Male red pandas have no involvement in caring for the young.

8. Living life alone

Red pandas are solitary and males and females will only come together when it is time to mate.

When they do meet they will communicate by using a whistling or twittering sound.

International Red Panda Day

Photo Credit: Cale Russell

9. What shall we call you?

The red panda is known by a number of other names. These include the lesser panda, red bear-cat, common panda, small red panda and the fire cat.

Their scientific name is Ailurus fulgens. This comes from an Ancient Greek word (αἴλουρος (ailouros), which means “cat.” fulgens comes from a Latin word for “shining, bright”

10. Under threat

Unfortunately the red panda has been under threat from habitat destruction and fragmentation, poaching for their fur and meat and collection of bamboo as fodder for livestock.

Their cute appearance has also seen a number of red pandas captured to be sold as pets. Wild animals do not make good pets and they should not be purchased for this.

Natural predators such as the snow leopard and marten will also present a threat.

Love Red Pandas? Want to learn more about them? Check out our full animal fact file where you can learn about their appearance, diet, lifespan, habitat, range, breeding and behavior habitats.

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