Red Panda



DIETmostly bamboo, fruit, roots, succulent grasses, acorns, lichens, birds’ eggs, and insects

RANGE Asia (Bhutan; China; India; Myanmar; Nepal)

HABITAT Cool temperate forests with bamboo understories in the Himalayas and other high mountains.

Red Panda

Physical Description

Red Pandas are small mammals with a bear-like body, bushy ringed tail, and thick reddish fur. They can grow up to 25 inches in length with their tails measuring between 11-19 inches. They can weigh anywhere between 6 to 14 lbs (females 6-10 lbs and males 10-14 lbs).


Common predators are snow leopards, clouded leopards, Indian leopards, jackals, and martens. Occasionally bird of prey or smaller carnivores may hunt their cubs.


In the wild they can live between 8-10 years, but under human care they can live up to 15 years old.


Red Panda females are fertile for only one or two days a year and there is a period of delayed implantation when the fertilized egg doesn’t implant or develop right away, possibly to ensure that cubs are born in the summer when their chances for survival are best. Breeding usually takes place between January and April with a gestation between 114-145 days. Females can give birth to a litter of one to four young (most commonly 1-2). Mothers will begin to build a den a few days before birth. They will reach sexual maturity between 18-24 months.

Fun Facts

  • A Red Panda’s tail can be almost as long as their entire body.
  • The Chinese name for the red panda is “hun-ho,” meaning “fire fox.”
  • In the taxonomic tree, Red Pandas are categorized as carnivores even though their diet is mostly vegetarian.
  • Bamboo is not a great food source for energy and is hard to digest. In fact, red pandas digest only about 24 percent of the bamboo they eat. Red pandas need to eat 20 to 30 percent of their body weight each day—about 2 to 4 pounds of bamboo shoots and leaves. In one study, female red pandas were found to eat approximately 20,000 bamboo leaves in a single day.
  • Red Panda’s have excellent camouflage for their environment. The red color on their back is the same color as moss that grows on the trees in their forests.
  • When it gets really cold, Red Panda’s will go into “Torpor”. They wrap their long tail around their bodies and will enter a deep sleep to slow their metabolism and conserve energy. By using this method, they do not have to go into a full hibernation during the colder winter months.
  • Red pandas are excellent climbers due to their extended wrist bones, flexible ankles, pseudo-thumbs, and retractable claws.

Conservation Messaging

The number one threat to Red Panda populations is habitat loss. Habitat deforestation and degradation in the Eastern Himalayas is mostly due to human population growth. Their habitat is being fragmented by development projects including roads, hydro-projects, electric transmission lines, and mining, as well as settlement and agricultural conversions, and anthropogenic forest fires.

The best way to help Red Pandas is to support established conservation organizations on the ground like the Red Panda Network. The Red Panda Network is an organization that focuses on education and empowering local communities to help conserve Red Pandas. They have a variety of projects to aid in conservation – education and outreach, habitat restoration and protection, anti-poaching, research and monitoring, and sustainable livelihoods.


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