Wonder + Wildness

Chasing wonder on a science guided journey through the natural world in search of meaning, connections, and the courage to hope

The Wild Life of Red Pandas

Red Panda

Order| Carnivora

Family| Ailuridae

Red Panda’s, like the Giant Panda, eat mostly bamboo (and are impossibly adoreable). But here’s the thing, they aren’t pandas. They’re actually more closely related to skunks and raccoons, and make up their own subfamily alongside skunks, raccoons, and weasels.

Much like the Eau de Popcorn smelling Binturong, the Red Panda is only a Carnivore by name. Much like actual pandas, their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo leaves. In fact, the word “panda” is derived from Nepalese for “bamboo eater”. (I wonder how you’d say donut eater, because that’d be me)

You might think that their coloration, like that of the orangutan, is a massive evolutionary disadvantage in terms of camouflage and hiding from predators, but you’d be mistaken. The trees that they seamlessly escape into are frequently covered with reddish-brown mosses

They also make an incredibly unexpected sound

Perhaps (unfortunately) not unexpected, the Red Panda is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Less than 10,000 remain, and those that do live in increasingly fragmented habitat, impacted by deforestation, poaching, and other human activity.

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