The Not so Red Panda

Topics: Red Panda, Giant Panda, Bamboo Pages: 2 (748 words) Published: December 16, 2012
The Red Panda can be an odd name for an animal that doesn’t even look like a Panda. It may also be odd that the scientific name of the Red Panda, Ailurus Fulgens, means shining cat when it is not related to the feline. In fact, isn’t it odd that the Red Panda was found is 1864 before the Giant Panda was discovered? There are many different oddities about the Red Panda including its diet, habitat, and behavior.

The Red Panda, much like the Giant Panda, relies heavily upon bamboo for its diet, but due to destruction of their habitat, bamboo is not always an option. In addition to that the Red Panda will only eat the youngest and most tender shoots and leaves, also chewing it thoroughly where the giant panda barely chews at all. Red Pandas also have a small, bony projection on their wrists that helps them grip bamboo stalks. The Red Panda actually slows its metabolism rate when no bamboo can be found for survival and in cold weather. When in times of need, the Red Panda will scavenge for fruits and hunt insects and small mammals (Mcdonald 14). Red pandas are also the only known mammal to be able to taste artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. The Red Panda spends the majority of its day, approximately 13 hours, foraging around for food. The female, being the more dominant of the species, must eat 30% of its body weight and up to 200,000 bamboo leaves a day due to slow metabolism (Delaney, Cameron).

The Red Panda has long, soft, reddish brown fur on the upper body and a darker, blackish fur on the lower parts. The pelage of the Red Panda is made up of long, coarse hairs with a mat of very dense under wool to keep the Red Panda dry in a moist and cold climate (Mcdonald 94). The Red Panda has a light face with tear marking and is similar to that of a raccoon. Its head is round with upright ears, black nose, and pitch black eyes (About the Red Panda). Despite the Red Pandas cute features it is extremely territorial and prefers to roam alone and has several...
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