Red Panda Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Red pandas are common in zoos, but do you know how they live in the wild? Learn some facts about these cuddly-looking animals, including how they live and what they eat.

What is a Red Panda?

Here's a game of animal mix-and-match: what has a face like a kitten, a tail like a raccoon and lives in trees like a squirrel?

Did you guess a type of panda? Probably not, but the answer is a red panda! Red pandas are small animals that have cinnamon-colored fur, white markings on their face and rings on their long tail. A grown-up red panda is around the size of a cat or a little bigger.

A Red Panda
red panda

Nobody can quite decide what animals red pandas are related to. At first, scientists thought they were related to raccoons because they have striped tails like raccoons. Then, after doing other tests, scientists thought they were related to bears, like black bears and polar bears. But it turns out that they're not very closely related to bears, either. Today, red pandas are classified into their own scientific family.

How Red Pandas Live

Habitat

In the wild, red pandas live in mountain ranges in Asia. High up in the mountains, it gets cold a lot, but that doesn't bother the red pandas. They can wrap their tails around themselves like blankets to keep warm.

Red pandas live in forests in the mountains and like to spend most of their time in trees. Their red-brown color is good camouflage in the forests because a lot of red-brown moss grows on the tree trunks. The red pandas blend right in with the moss! Red pandas also have feet that are built for climbing, with flexible ankles and claws to grab hold of the tree trunks.

Today, red pandas are in danger because people cut down their forests to make room for fields or to get wood for fuel.

Diet

Like giant pandas, red pandas mostly eat a green leafy plant called bamboo. But red pandas also eat all kinds of other plants and roots, the eggs of other animals and even small birds.

Red pandas are most active at dawn, when the sun is rising, and at dusk, when the sun is setting. They sleep a lot during the day and do most of their hunting for food at night.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see some bamboo behind the panda.
Red panda in a tree

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