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Red panda facts for kids

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Red panda
A red panda at the Cincinnati Zoo
Conservation status
Scientific classification

A. f. fulgens (Himalayan red panda) F. Cuvier, 1825
A. f. styani (Chinese red panda) Thomas, 1902

Map showing the range of the red pandas
Range of the red panda

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a mammal. It is the only species of the Ailuridae family. There are two subspecies: Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens styani. It is also called the lesser panda, the red bear-cat, and the red cat-bear.


Most that are bred at Japanese zoos are Ailurus fulgens styani. They are called レッサーパンダ in Japan and 小熊貓 (xiǎo xìong māo ) in China, both literally translating to English as "small bear cat". They have become popular for how they look. The IUCN classes them as 'vulnerable'

The red panda is not closely related to the giant panda: they are in different families, but share a vegetarian diet. They have both adapted to eating plant material, which is unusual for members of the Carnivora.

A scientist by the name Brian Houghton Hodgson was one of the first people to look more deeply into the Red Panda because up until he did, there was not much known about the species. In addition to Bamboo, the Red Panda also eats fruits, tuberous roots, acorns, and beechmast. The Red Panda is not necessarily nocturnal but is classified as crepuscular which means they are active around dawn and sleep during the night and midday. Besides how they slept, Hodgson observed that they were monogamous and only breed once a year.


The red panda lives in the southern part of China, Sikkim, Nepal, and the Himalaya mountains in high trees. In the Indian kingdom of Sikkim it is the state animal. As an endangered species it is protected by laws in the countries where it lives. 2 nearly complete skeletons have been found at the Gray Fossil Site in Gray, Tennessee.

Appearance and life

Red pandas are about 50-60 centimeters long. They weigh between three and five kilograms. They have chestnut colored hair, and their faces have white designs. They eat fruits, roots, bamboo shoots, acorns, and insects. They are active at night and sleep on trees in the daytime. They act alone, not in groups. They eat blossoms, berries, various plants, and bird eggs.

A red panda's average lifespan is between eight and 10 years, but individuals have been known to reach 15 years.

Predators of the red panda include the snow leopard, mustelids, and humans. If they feel threatened or sense danger, they may try to escape by climbing a rock column or tree. If they can no longer flee, they stand on their hind legs to make themselves appear larger and use the sharp claws on their front paws to defend themselves.

A red panda, Futa, became a visitor attraction in Japan for his ability to stand upright for ten seconds at a time.


Red Panda (25193861686)
Closeup look of a red panda
Ailurus fulgens - 01
A red panda resting on a tree

It is protected in all range countries, and hunting is illegal.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are less than 10000 spieces left worldwide.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ailurus fulgens para niños

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