• Class: Mammalia; Order: Carnivora; Family: Ailuridae (Red Pandas)
Note: Some taxonomists place them in the raccoon family (Procyonidae), but never in the bear family (Ursidae), to which the Giant Panda belongs.
• Habits of red pandas in the wild are relatively unknown due to its scarcity.
• Reddish-orange fur of the red panda helps it blend in with the canopy of fir trees where branches are covered with clumps of reddish-brown moss.
• In Zoos, red pandas are carefully managed by SSPs.
• Habitat has shrunk due to:
o Erosion caused by rivers in the Tibetan plateau. This creates small blocks of habitat separated by gorges that limit the migration of animal life.
o Farming or grazing cattle in areas once occupied by red pandas.
• In the wild, the red panda eats mainly bamboo, but may also consume berries, flowers, small mammals, birds, and eggs.
Red Panda, page 2
• Red pandas have a series of enlarged papillae on the lower side of the tip of the tongue. These appear to function as chemoreceptors, picking up small chemical particles as the animal “sniffs” and “tastes” things in its surroundings. (These function similarly to Jacobsons’ organs in reptiles).
• Outside the breeding season, adults are believed to be solitary and scent-mark their territories.
• Captive red pandas are mostly nocturnal and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), with little activity occurring during the day.
• Red pandas have a low metabolic rate, very much like that of tree sloths. Perhaps because of this, they have low growth rates and few offspring.
• In captivity, litter size ranges from one to four, with individuals weighing a little over 4 oz. They are born with eyes and ears closed, but are covered with a thick, woolly