Scientific Name: ailurus fulgens refulgens
Habitat: bamboo forests of the eastern Himalayas & southwest China
Diet: bamboo leaves, berries, grasses; also small rodents
Life Span: 12 – 14 years captivity (unknown in wild)
Young: 1 – 4 cubs per litter
Size: 4 – 6 kg
The Red Panda is native to the temperate forests of the eastern Himalayas and southwest China.
Red Pandas are not much larger than a house cat and have long, soft reddish-brown fur on their upper body and blackish fur on their lower body. They have a light-coloured face with teardrop markings, similar to a raccoon. Their roundish head has medium-sized upright ears and a black nose. Their long bushy tail has six alternating yellowish red rings which helps with balance and provides excellent camouflage in its habitat of moss and lichen covered trees.
In the wild, Red Pandas spend much of the daytime sleeping, foraging for food at dusk and dawn. Red Pandas are bamboo eaters and have strong, curved semi-retractile claws for grasping narrow bamboo shoots, leaves, and fruit. When descending head-first, the red panda rotates its ankle to control its descent. It is one of the few climbing species that can do this.
Except for during mating season, Red Pandas are solitary creatures and are very territorial. A frightened or angry Red Panda hisses like a cat.
Red Pandas are considered Vulnerable, as their population in the wild is estimated to be less than 10,000 mature individuals. The Edmonton Valley Zoo has taken up the cause to help conserve and protect these special creatures. They are members of both the Red Panda Network and the Species Survival Plan.
To learn more, visit the Red Panda Network or stop by the Edmonton Valley Zoo to meet Pip, Kalden, and Rina!