Red Panda’s live at between 2,200 and 4,800m altitude in temperate forests, mountainous mixed deciduous and conifer forests with dense understories of bamboo in the Himalayas, and ranges from the foothills of western Nepal to China in the east, Tibet, Sikkim, Assam in India, Bhutan, the northern mountains of Burma and in southwestern China, in the Hengduan Mountains of Sichuan and the Gongshan Mountains in Yunnan.
The Red Panda has soft reddish-brown fur on the upper parts, blackish fur underneath and on the lower limbs and a light face with tear markings, robust cranial-dental features, a long shaggy tail measuring 28-59cm and a waddling gait due to having shorter front legs. The head and body measures 50-64cm with Males weighing from 3.7kg to 6.2kg and Females 3kg to 6kg. They have strong, curved and sharp semi-retractile claws and a ‘false thumb’ that is an extension of the wrist bone.
- The Red Panda have their own taxonomic classification in its own family Ailuridae.
- They are a solitary animal apart from mating season and are mainly active from dusk to dawn and are largely sedentary during the day.
- The Red Panda wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals.
- Each red Panda has it’s own individual distinctive markings.
- They have short black fur on the soles of their paws which serves as thermal insulation on snow-covered or ice surfaces and conceals scent glands.
- Diet: Birds, eggs, flowers, berries, maple & mulberry leaves, bark & fruits of maple, beech and mulberry, mushrooms, roots, acorns, lichen, grasses, fish, insects with two-thirds of their diet consisting of Bamboo.
- Red Pandas do little more than sleep due to their low-calorie diets.
- Gestation: The gestation period is 112 to 158 days giving birth to 1-4 deaf and blind cubs weighing 110-130g. At 18 days they will start to open their eyes and by 90 days they will resemble that of their parents and begin to venture outside the nest.
- Reproduction: they are able to reproduce at around 18 months and are fully mature at 2-3 years. They can mate with more than one partner during mating season from January to March.
- Predators: Snow Leopard, Martens and Humans (Habitat degradation, fragmentation, trade, poaching, hunting).
- Lifespan: 8-10 years.