This is a red panda (picture from tehcute.com/red-panda-is-very-amused.htm). Isn’t it the most adorable thing ever?
No one should have to live without experiencing this joy and cuteness:
(Picture from https://www.change.org/students-save-the-red-pandas) Currently, there are less than 10,000 Red Pandas left in the world and they are facing extinction. However, there are petitions taking place to save them (one is at the aforementioned URL for the red panda picture directly above).
Let me give you the low down on Red Pandas:
- They have several names: the lesser panda, cat-bear, bear-cat (now I really wish I went to a school with a bear-cat mascot), Himalayan Raccoon, fox bear, and fire fox (yes, this is the mascot of Mozilla’s browser).
- Red Pandas, while sharing characteristics and DNA with both raccoons (Procyonidae family) and bears (Ursidae family), are actually of the Ailuridae family and have NO living relatives. Their closest ancestors are contained in 3 to 4 million year old fossils.
- Red Pandas give off a smell, similar to skunks, when they are scared
- They wrap themselves in their tails to keep warm and can even go dormant when it is too cold.
- They almost never step foot on the ground, instead keeping to the trees
- Red Pandas are similar in size to house cats and groom themselves in a similar fashion.
Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens
Habitat: Mountains in Nepal, Central China, Norther Myanmar
Weight: 10 to 20 pounds
Length: 30 to 46 inches (head to tail)
Defining Features: Large, round head; pointed ears; short snout; reddish brown coat; busy, (red and white) ringed tail
Food Source: Bamboo (mostly), roots, grasses, fallen fruits
Dangerous Assets: long tail that allows them to balance while climbing trees, sharp claws, and thumb-like wrist bones
Behold the menacing attack of the Red Panda! (image from cheezburger.com)
This is where I found a lot of information on Red Pandas and where you should go if you’d like to learn more! (livescience.com). Live Science was a very useful website and I would recommend it to anyone planning to do some scientific research!
Also, enjoy these adorable videos of Red Pandas that I found on YouTube:
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Red Pandas in the snow
A Red Panda facing off with a rock
More Red Pandas in the snow
– The Word Hero