The seriously adorable red panda may not be as famous as the black and white giant panda, but this little guy has definitely cornered the market on cute. With their sweet faces, big fluffy tails, and playful antics, it’s impossible not to get caught up in all the red panda cuteness.
What exactly is a red panda? Biologists actually aren’t 100% sure. They were originally thought to be related to the giant panda and the raccoon, but right now red pandas belong to their own distinct family…the Ailuridae.
Found in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar, and central China, red pandas are much smaller than giant pandas. They weigh from 12 to 20 pounds and are between 20 to 26 inches long (add on another 12 to 20 inches for that bushy tail).
Red pandas live in high altitude forests, and spend most of their time in trees, even when they sleep. They are most active at night, and at dusk and dawn. Like giant pandas, red pandas will eat bamboo, but their diet is much more varied, including things like acorns, fruit, and eggs.
Red pandas are solitary and don’t interact much with each other, except during mating season. Red panda cubs are cared for by their mothers (but not their fathers) for about 90 days before they leave the nest.
The red panda is classified as endangered, mostly due to the deforestation of its natural habitat. The spread of logging and agriculture are both contributing to the dwindling population of this beautiful creature.
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