People are going crazy over the Red Panda (Ailurus Fulgens)- the first known panda with reddish-brown fur, a white face, and a long ringed rail. These pandas were found 50 years before what we call ‘the giant panda’ and deserve more recognition then they receive -mostly because they are adorable!
Here are a 6 little facts for those who are not familiar with these endearing little creatures:
1. The Red Panda, also known as “firefox” is referred to as the “lesser panda” compared to what we commonly recognize as the “giant panda.” Sadly, few people outside of its native habitat in the Northeastern section India have heard of the red panda, let alone have come across one in their lifetime.
2. The red panda has been classified in the middle of two families: the Procyonidae (raccoon family) and the Ursidae (the bear family). The head and body length of these pandas averages around 56 to 63 cm (22 to 25 in), and their tails are about 37 to 47 cm (15 to 19in).
3. Red Panda’s grow relatively slow causing them to develop extended relationships with their mothers that last for over one year. However, these mammals tend to rarely interact with one other as their home ranges about one square mile (for females) and up to three square miles (for males).
4. These mammals are clearly picky eaters considering they only choose to eat the most tender bamboo shoots and leaves. The bamboo they consume is high in indigestible fiber making it hard for them to extract the nutrients they need to survive. Their insides are not equipped to handle the rough plant matter resulting in their consumption of only one quarter of the nutrients that they must consume. As a result, many red pandas normally loose 15% of their body weight during the winter.
5. Red pandas have a long development period (around 135 days) for an animal that weights only 11 pounds once hitting the end of their maturation period. These pandas grow slowly as they reach their maturation period around 12 months. Their reproduction rate is also lengthly making their species semi-endangered during population declines.
6. Red pandas live primarily near the foothills of the Himalayas. With a generally average temperature, there is little variation or adaption that needs to be made which makes their existence quite simple. These creatures are restricted to this particular location due to their dependence on the nourishment that the surrounding forrest provides for them.