Interesting Panda Facts
Interesting Panda Facts

32 Adorable Red Panda Facts

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published June 17, 2019
  • The red panda is known as the "first panda" because it was so named nearly 50 years before the giant panda.[2]
  • Even though the red panda is classified as a carnivore, its diet is almost exclusively bamboo.[2]
  • Englishman Major-General Thomas Hardwicke was most likely the first to describe the red panda, but he did not publish his work for several years. In the meantime, Frédéric Cuvier did not wait as long and published the first written description of the red panda in 1825.[2]
  • Red pandas, like giant pandas, live in Asia's high forests and are bamboo eaters. However, despite these similarities, red pandas and giant pandas are not related.[2]
  • Both red pandas and giant pandas have a pseudo-thumb, which is a modified wrist bone.[2]
  • Firefox Facts
    The name "Firefox" is the red panda's nickname
  • The Mozilla Firefox logo is not a fox; it's actually a red panda. One of the red panda's nicknames is the red fox.[6]
  • Red pandas are the only living member of the family Ailuridae.[2]
  • The red panda is not actually a panda. It's believed that its name is derived from the Nepalese words "nigalya ponya," meaning "bamboo eater."[2]
  • A red panda eats approximately 200 bamboo shoots and leaves per day, which is about 20 to 30% of their body weight.[2]
  • Though listed as endangered, the red panda is poached regularly for its pelt and beautiful tail, which is often used on hats for wedding ceremonies in the Yunnan province of China.[2]
  • A red panda is also known as the lesser panda, the red bear cat, and the red cat bear.[2]
  • A red panda is a bit larger than a domestic/house cat.[2]
  • The red panda is the only known non-primate mammal to show a preference for the artificial sweetener aspartame.[5]
  • Is the red panda a bear? A type of raccoon? Throughout the years, scientists have placed the adorable animal in either the racoon or bear family. They now classify it as the only surviving member of the family Ailuridae.[1]
  • Scientists estimate that the red panda population will decline by over 10% in the next three generations.[1]
  • There are fewer than 10,000 mature red pandas left in the world, and only 2,500 left in the wild. Additionally, despite being listed as endangered, their population continues to decline due to habitat loss, poaching, and problems associated with inbreeding.[2]
  • The scientific name for the red panda is Ailurus fulgens, which means "red shining cat."[2]
  • Lesser Panda fact
    The red panda is also known as the lesser panda, firefox, and red cat-bear

  • The red panda is found in five countries: Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China.[1]
  • Because red panda cubs are very small (just 115 grams) when they are born, their survival rate is as low as 50%.[1]
  • Due to their low-calorie diet, red pandas do little more than eat and sleep.[2]
  • The red panda is considered to be a living fossil.[2]
  • Red pandas are more closely related to skunks, weasels, and raccoons than they are to giant pandas.[2]
  • The first known written record of the red panda is found in a 13th-century Zhou (Chou) dynasty scroll. They weren't known to Europeans until six centuries later.[2]
  • The red panda was almost named "wha" because it has a loud cry or call that sounds like the word "wha."[2]
  • Frédéric Cuvier
    According to one scientist, the red panda is the most beautiful mammal on earth
  • Frédéric Cuvier, who published the first Western scientific description of the red panda in 1825, called it "quite the most handsome mammal in existence."[3]
  • A red panda named Babu escaped a nature reserve in England and spent four days on the lam. His escapades turned him into a media sensation before his recapture.[4]
  • A red panda cub weighs just about 3.5 ounces at birth and easily fits in the cupped palm of a hand.[3]
  • Scientists see red pandas as a critical indicator species for the health of the Himalayan ecosystem.[3]
  • The character Master Shifu in the movie Kung Fu Panda is a red panda.[3]
  • Red pandas have escaped from zoos in London, Birmingham, Rotterdam, and the Smithsonian Zoo. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums includes in their care package of information: "beware," red pandas are escape artists."[5]
  • There has been a 40% decrease in the red panda population over the last 50 years.[2]
  • Red pandas are typically shy and solitary, except when they are mating.[2]
References

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