Red pandas are cute little animals that look adorable and friendly. The interesting fact is that they are not so friendly as they seem. They are aggressive and territorial.
In this article, we have listed some amazing red panda facts for kids that you are surely going to enjoy reading. Read it along with your kids and tell them how are these different from the popular giant pandas.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Red Pandas for Kids
Is a red panda a panda or a raccoon? And if it is not a panda then why is it called so? We have tried to cover these questions along with their food habits, habitat, characteristics, and other interesting facts that might amaze you.
1. They are the original pandas
The red pandas are the original pandas as they were discovered almost 48 years before the giant pandas. They were first described by a zoologist in the year 1825. Although they are not closely related to the giant pandas, they share the same food habits like eating bamboo leaves.
They look more like raccoons but they are not raccoons as well. They are the only living member of the Ailuridae family. The giant pandas have been named pandas after shared characteristics with the red panda.
2. They are solitary animals
Red pandas are territorial and solitary. You can not see a pack of red pandas very easily. They prefer to live alone and keep their distance from their kind. They only come close during the mating season.
They are not friendly animals. It is advised not to pet one as they do not do well in captivity. They often have an attacking nature towards the keeper.
3. They possess a false thumb
They have a false thumb similar to the giant pandas. It is an extended wrist bone that has developed over time and helps in climbing trees and eating bamboo. The red panda is one of those rare species that can rotate its ankle while descending the trees.
They descend from the trees head-first and the ability to rotate their ankle helps in controlling their descent and balancing. Not every climbing species have this ability. They have very strong and sharp claws that help in grasping the narrow tree branches.
4. They are vegetarian carnivores
Yes, you have heard it right. They are vegetarian yet carnivores. This is because their diet majorly contains bamboo and leaves. But at times, they can also eat meat like lizards and insects. They are also known to eat bird eggs besides birds and small mammals.
They also eat berries, bark and fruits of maple, flowers, beech, mushroom, roots and grasses. They eat food equal to 20 – 30 percent of their body weight. They are known for eating 2 – 4 pounds of bamboo shoots and leaf tips daily.
Since they can not digest their food completely, they need to eat more in order to absorb enough nutrients.
5. Red pandas are nocturnal
Red pandas are more active during the dark hours of dusk and dawn. They search for food during the night and sleep and rest during the daytime. They are also known as crepuscular, meaning they are active during the late afternoon and early evening time.
They sleep on tree branches and hollows during the daytime. A red panda can camouflage itself in the leaves of the tree it lives on. That is how they get difficult to spot at times.
6. They make various sounds
Red pandas have different sounds to communicate with each other. These sounds include tweeting, twittering, squealing, and huff quacks. When faced with any kind of danger, they often hiss or grunt.
They also stand on their hind legs during danger and show behaviors like head bobbing and tail arching. They also have scent glands on the soles of their feet. That is how they mark their territory.
7. Red pandas are Asiatic mammals
If you want to see red pandas, then you have to visit the Asian countries of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Southwestern China, and Northern Myanmar. They prefer to live in the high-altitude temperate forests and tropical forests.
An interesting fact here is that almost 5 million years old fossils of Red pandas have been discovered in North America. How did it get there or how did red pandas relocate to Asia is an interesting question now.
8. Winter is their favorite season
The red pandas including the cubs are very active and fun-loving creatures. They love to play in the snow during winters and it is their favorite season as well. They can tolerate -30°C of cold temperatures. We know that they prefer high altitudes.
They cover themselves with their long bushy tail which acts as a blanket during the winters to protect them from the harsh weather. This tail also helps them balance themselves while moving on trees.
9. Red pandas can not jump high
Keeping in mind their amazing tree climbing skills, one can think that they could jump very well but that is not the case. They are not known as very good jumpers. They use their claws to hold on to the branches while they move from one tree to another.
They can descend the trees head-down as well. They spend most of their time in trees to protect themselves from predators.
10. The mothers get busiest after birth
The female red pandas, who have become mothers recently will spend more than half of their time nurturing their cubs. They make nests for the cubs before giving birth and after the birth keeps shifting the cubs to protect them from the predators.
The mother cleans them right after birth and identifies them with their smell. She leaves the nest and comes back to feed and clean up the cubs.
11. The firefox logo is a red panda
Till now you must be thinking of the animal as a fox in the logo of Mozilla Firefox. But it is a red panda. Mozilla even adopted two female red pandas in the year 2010 that were born in the Knoxville zoo in Tennessee.
Another interesting fact is that the popular Master Shifu in the animated movie Kung Fu Panda is a red panda. Many have thought of him as a raccoon but he is not.
Also want to know about some other cute looking creatures, read these articles:
They are known as red pandas due to the red fur they have on their body.
Their diet mainly consists of leaves and bamboo but they also feed on meat occasionally such as lizards, bird eggs, and insects.
The average weight of an adult red panda lies between 8 – 17 pounds. They are 22 – 24 inches tall with a tail length of 14 – 18 inches.
The Red Panda goes by the scientific name of Ailurus Fulgens.
The red panda belongs to the Ailuridae family.
The baby red panda is known as Cub.
The most special thing about them is that they are the original pandas. They were discovered almost 50 years before the black and white giant pandas.
While they are awake, they spend half of their time searching for bamboo leaves.
Red pandas are found in the Eastern Himalayan countries of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Southwestern China, and the Northern mountains of Myanmar. They live in high altitude tropical and temperate forests.
They are neither bears nor raccoons.
Red pandas are not related to pandas despite sharing the same name and food habits. They are the only living members of their unique family Ailuridae.
A group of red pandas are a rare sight and is known as a pack.
They live in the Eastern Himalayas of China, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Since they are most active during the darker hours of dusk, dawn, and night, they spend most of the daytime resting and sleeping.
Red pandas live a maximum of 14 years in the wild.
They can run at a speed of 24 miles per hour.
The red pandas are mostly nocturnal.
They have the intelligence similar, or a little more, to that of bears and raccoons.
Red pandas are wild animals who get aggressive in captivity. They have sharp claws and teeth that can be dangerous.
Red pandas are not good pets. They get aggressive towards their keepers and might attack them. It is not advisable to keep one as a pet.
Red pandas are listed as endangered as their population is continuously decreasing due to deforestation.
The forests in which red pandas are found act as the lungs of South Asia. If we protect them then we are also protecting their habitat which will protect the environment.
So these were the enthralling red panda facts for kids. We hope you had a good time reading it. We assume that we were able to answer the curious questions of your little ones through this article.