The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal, native to the eastern Himalayan mountains and southwestern China.
The Red Panda has reddish-brown fur, a long shaggy tail with six coloured rings, and short front legs. It has light white patches on its face, especially around its nose and ears. It has a black nose and black eyes.
The Red Panda can grow to 50-64 centimetres (20-25 inches) tall, and its tail is 28-59 centimetres (11-23 inches) long. Males are slightly bigger than females.
It is arboreal (living in trees), and its long tail provides balance.
Its claws are sharp, curved, and semi-retractile, which enable them to grasp narrow tree branches.
It has thick fur on the soles of its paws, which provides thermal (heat) insulation in the snow.
It feeds mainly on bamboo (about 66% of the time), but it also eats the leaves of trees, grass, roots, acorns, eggs, birds and insects. It is omnivorous, because it eats all types of foods.
The Red Panda is nocturnal, meaning that it is active at night. It is sedentary during the day.
It is a solitary animal.
They are ready to have babies when they are about 18 months to 3 years old. They have live young in a nest of grass and leaves in a hollow tree or rock crevice.
It prefers mountainous, cold regions.
A Red Panda’s average lifespan is 8-10 years.
[Location of photographs: Adelaide Zoo, Australia and Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM