Himalayans to southwestern China
Himalayan deciduous broadleaf forest
Body Length: 20-25 inches
Body-Tail Length: 31-48 inches
Weight: 6-13 pounds
Wild: Mostly bamboo, also other foliage, flowers, eggs and fruit
Zoo: Mostly bamboo, leaf eater biscuits, some fruit
Gestation: 112-158 days
Litter size: up to 4, usually 1 or 2
About the Animal:
Red Pandas are NOT bears. Although they share a name with Giant Pandas, they are not actually related. Red Pandas are more closely related to the mustelids (weasels like skunks).
First described in 1825 by Frederic Cuvier, Red Pandas are herbivorous carnivores; that is, they are taxonomically classified as carnivores but actually eat mostly plants. In fact, 2/3 of their diet is bamboo. Unlike Giant Pandas, Red Pandas specialize in eating the leaves and fruit of the bamboo plant.
Because Red Pandas are arboreal (spend much of their time in trees), they have semi-retractile claws and ankles that can rotate 180 degrees, allowing them to walk head first down a tree.
Mating and Reproduction:
Mating season occurs mid-January through March. Up to four (but usually 1 or 2) cubs are born in a nest in a hollow tree. The mother will move the cubs among several nests she constructs and maintains. Cubs will stay with their mother until the next litter is born.
Like the Giant Panda, Red Pandas have a “thumb”. It is not a true thumb but rather an extended wrist bone that helps them manipulate bamboo.
Where in the Zoo:
The Red Pandas can be found in the outdoor exhibit on the main zoo aisle.