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Red pandas are small mammals with round heads, short snouts, reddish-brown coats and fluffy tails with red and white markings. This species is classified into two, one native to the Himalayas and the other to China.
See the fact file below for more information on the red pandas or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Red Panda worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy and Life Cycle
- Common Name: Red panda
- Scientific Name: Ailurus fulgens
- Type: Mammals
- Diet: Herbivores
- Average Lifespan in the Wild: 8 years
- Average Size: Head to tail about 40 inches
- Average Weight: 12 to 10 lbs
- Gestation Period: 145 days
- Habitat: High-altitude forests of Nepal, Myanmar and China
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Red pandas are found in the high-altitude tropical mountain forests of Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Central China.
- According to the National Zoo, existence of bamboo is the most important element of their habitat. Red pandas are mostly herbivores. About 85- 95% of their diet is composed of bamboo shoots and bamboo leaf tips.
- Moreover, they sometimes consume fallen fruit, roots, grasses, insects and eggs. A red panda eats 1 to 2 kg of bamboo per day but only 24% is digested.
- Red pandas were first described in 1825 by French zoologists, Frederick Cuvier. He named it Ailurus fulgens, which means fire-colored cat. They are sometimes called lesser panda, bear-cat, Himalayan racoon and firefox.
- As a matter of fact, red pandas were catalogued before the famous giant panda.
- Due to physical similarities, red pandas were initially classified as members of the raccoon family.
- They were later classified as members of the Ursidae family, the same as bears. Currently, they are classified under the Ailuridae family and they’re the only one of their kind.
- Red pandas can grow from 20 to 26 inches long (from head to rump) and weigh up to 20 lbs. Their tail adds another 10 to 20 inches in measurement, almost the same as the domesticated cat.
- Red pandas are recognizable because of their striking and adorable physical features. They have pointed ears, round heads and a short snout. They have cinnamon-colored fur covering their body except for their face, which is mostly white.
- Their long, fluffy tails are colored with alternating red and white rings. Their tails help them climb trees. In addition, their long, sharp and partly retractable claws enable them to climb the highest trees in times of danger.
- Like giant pandas, red pandas have modified wrist bones, which helps them grasp bamboo. They have strong jaws and wide teeth ideal for chewing bamboo shoots and leaves.
- After 114 to 145 days of gestation, a female red panda will give birth to one to four cubs. In many cases, females have twins.
- Cubs are born with sealed eyes and ears until 3 weeks of age. Mothers nurse their cubs until 22 weeks old and stay with them in the birthing den for 90 days. After 18 to 20 months, red pandas reach maturity and generally live up to 10 years in the wild. Red pandas in captivity live longer at around 15 years.
- They communicate by producing different types of sound like whistles, squeals and twitters. Body language also works for them.
- Their main predators are wild dogs, snow leopards and clouded leopards.
Behavioral Traits and Habits
- Red pandas are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. They spend most of their time in trees making them arboreal mammals.
- Like cats, they groom themselves by licking their front paws and using them to wipe their fur.
- When in danger, red pandas are like skunks and can secrete a strong odor from their gland located at the base of the tail.
- If the strong scent does not work, they can strike out using their claws while standing on their back feet.
- They generally live solitary lives. Male red pandas are highly territorial marking their territory using their strong scent.
- At night, they cover themselves with their furry tail to keep them warm. They can also be dormant when temperatures drop significantly.
Threats and Conservation Status
- According to the IUCN, because the red panda population showed a 50% decline over the past 18 years, they’re endangered. Among the known reasons are deforestation and hunting.
- In order to protect the only existing species of the Ailuridae family, there are 35 protected areas in China, 20 in India, 8 in Nepal and 5 in Bhutan.
Fun, Furry Facts
- The word “panda” came from a Nepalese term “ponya”, which means bamboo-eating animal.
- Other recognized subspecies of red pandas are Ailurus fulgens or the Himalayan red panda and Ailurus styani or Chinese red panda.
Red Panda Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about red pandas across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Red Panda worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the red pandas which are small mammals with round heads, short snouts, reddish-brown coats and fluffy tails with red and white markings. This species is classified into two, one native to the Himalayas and the other to China.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Red Panda Facts
- Red Panda 101
- Physical Appearance
- The Firefox
- Furry Mapping
- Let’s Connect!
- Word Search
- Fact or Bluff
- Red Panda World
- Two Red Pandas
- Code Name Endangered
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Link will appear as Red Panda Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 7, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.