Often called lesser pandas, red pandas are one of nature’s most fascinating creatures. Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, red panda have a thick coat of reddish brown fur. Their black legs and belly are the only parts of their bodies that are not red. They also have white-lined ears and a mostly white muzzle. And their tail is ringed, which indicates their love for bamboo.
Red pandas are the sole living species of the family Ailuridae and genus Ailurus
The red panda is the only member of the family Ailuridae, a group of mammals. Its ancestors were closely related to bears and raccoons, and its lineage dates back as far as the Early Tertiary Period. They are now considered extinct, but their ancestors lived in Asia, Europe, and North America.
They are one-of-a-kind in the animal world
A unique animal, the Red Panda is a cat-like mammal with a striking reddish-brown coat. They grow to about the size of a house cat and are impressive acrobats, swinging from tree to tree in Asian forests. Red pandas once sparked an intense debate over their relationship to the giant pandas. While once placed in the bear and raccoon families, DNA studies have shown that red pandas are members of their own genus and family.
They are a strong climber
Although they are primarily arboreal animals, red pandas are strong climbers. They can easily climb trees, using their claws and bushy tails to balance themselves. Their feet can also rotate 180 degrees and their claws are made to grip tree bark. In order to reach their destination, red pandas must first ascend the tree. After gaining enough height, they can then move down the tree without falling.
They eat bamboo
If you want to know what red pandas eat, it’s important to understand their diet. These animals are herbivores, which means they eat only plants. Omnivores, on the other hand, eat both animal and plant foods. Despite its popularity as a food, bamboo is highly poisonous. Some animals have adapted to process this substance to make it safe for consumption. For this reason, red pandas often eat bamboo.
They wash their faces with their paws
If you think that washing your face with your hands is a weird habit, you need to see a red panda. They do it all the time and their faces are quite clean! You may have heard them making a series of funny noises while they wash their faces. However, these noises are not related to their facial washing. Red pandas wash their faces with their paws to remove dirt, as well as to clean their eyes and ears.
They have razor-sharp claws
Red pandas are extremely strong and possess razor-sharp claws. They have five claws on each finger, and can retract their claws to a semi-retractable state when they are not in use. These claws help the red panda climb, move around, and groom itself. When defending themselves, the red panda can use its claws on its front paws to defend itself.
They are a skilled tree-top navigator
While initially classified as bears or raccoons, recent genetic research places them in a separate family. Tree-climbing is an important part of the red panda’s life. Their semi-retractable claws, which function like a cat’s thumb, help them balance in the tree canopy. In addition, their tails are very flexible, making them an excellent tree-climber.
They are threatened by poaching
Poaching is a major threat to Red Pandas. They are particularly vulnerable in areas where illegal trade is widespread. In India and Nepal, a recent study found that 121 red panda pelts were confiscated. This figure was highest in 2017, with 27 seizures reported in the Kathmandu valley alone. Unfortunately, none of the pelts seized were intended for export. Poaching of Red Pandas is largely attributed to the pets and collector trade, and there is no indication of a market for the animals.