Red Panda Introduction
The Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because the wild population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and continues to decline due to habitat loss, poaching, and accidental inbreeding. As their name suggests, they are related to the larger and more famous Giant panda, (although the exact closeness of their connection still remains uncertain to science) along with also sharing a number of characteristics with the raccoon and so Red pandas are classified in a family of their own. The Red panda is also called by a number of different names in their native regions including the Lesser panda, the Red cat-bear and as the fire fox in Nepal. Like their much larger cousin, the Red panda relies on bamboo as their primary food source. The Red panda also has an extra wrist bone, ( just like the giant panda) which it uses to grasp the bamboo stalk while it fills its mouth with leaves. The Red panda is about the same size as a large housecat, with a cat-like face and a long bushy tail. Their rusty coloured fur covers their body with the exception of their almost white coloured ears, cheeks, muzzle and spots above their eyes. The Red panda also has reddish brown stripes that run down either side of their white muzzle, along with alternating light and dark rings on their tails. The Red panda has semi-retractable claws to aid climbing and stability amongst the branches and strong, tough jaws which they use to chew on bamboo they eat.
Keywords to learn
Poaching: Hunting or catching animals on land that is not owned by the poacher
Ecosystem: A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment
Hey Kids, my name is River the Red panda and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Key Red Panda Data
Lifespan:8 – 12 years.
Scientific Name:Ailurus fulgens.
Mass:3kg – 6.2kg. (7 pounds – 14 pounds)
Length:60cm – 120cm. (24 inches – 47 inches)
Region found:Eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.
Current population trend:Decreasing.
Sexual maturity:Around 18 months.
The Red panda is not the traditional panda, and nor does it look like one. You know, the big black and white ones you see in the zoo. The Red panda as you have read above looks more a fox or a raccoon. This engendered species is a beautiful creature. We need to do everything we can to make sure the Red panda does not go extinct.
Now that you know more about the Red panda by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about how the Red panda here: Red Panda (answers are on this page)
Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on the Red Panda. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets
Red Panda Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. Take a look at the reddish-orange tint of the Red panda’s coat and you might not immediately think “good for camouflage,” but that’s where you’d be mistaken. It turns out that the Red panda is pretty good at hiding from predators by disappearing into the branches of fir trees which are usually covered with reddish-brown moss. Which is pretty handy because death by snow leopard seems like a particularly bad way to go.
- # 2. If the Red panda becomes extinct, many negative effects are to occur. One negative impact would be that the ecosystem that the red pandas live in would become less biodiverse causing problems for animals in this ecosystem. So that means that red pandas are extremely important for their environment.
- # 3. In significantly cold temperatures, Red pandas can become dormant, lowering their metabolic rate and raising it every few hours to wake up and look for food.
- # 4. Mozilla’s flagship browser, Firefox, means Red panda. Originally, Mozilla wanted to name the browser Firebird, but found that another open source project was using that name. Not wanting to upset anyone, they decided to go with Firefox. And in a true example of adorableness, in 2010 Mozilla adopted two baby Red Pandas that had been born at Tennessee’s Knoxville Zoo.
- # 5. Red panda babies are born blind, their ears are closed, and body is covered with gray fur. Red Panda babies also stay with their mother until the next breeding season.
- # 1. How many mature Red pandas are left in the wild?
- # 2. Name two names the Red panda is also called?
- # 3. What is the primary food source of the Red panda?
- # 4. What region is the Red panda found?
- # 5. In significantly cold temperatures, what do Red pandas do?