Definitions

panda

panda

[pan-duh]
panda, name for two nocturnal Asian mammals of the order Carnivora: the red panda, Ailurus fulgens, and the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca.

The red panda, also known as lesser panda and cat bear, is found at high elevations in the Himalayas and the mountains of W China and N Myanmar. It resembles a raccoon but has a longer body and tail and a more rounded head. It is about 3.5 ft (105 cm) in total length and weighs about 12 lb (5.5 kg). The very thick fur is rust color to deep chestnut, with black on the under parts, limbs, and ears; there are dark eye patches on the white face. The red panda spends much of its time in trees but feeds on the ground, eating primarily bamboo leaves but also fruit, roots, and other plant matter.

The giant panda superficially resembles a bear. The body is chiefly white, and the limbs are brownish black, with the dark color extending up over the shoulder. The ears and eye patches are black. Adults weigh from 200 to 300 lb (90-140 kg) and are from 4.5 to 5 ft (140-150 cm) long with a 5-in. (13-cm) tail. Giant pandas live in restricted areas of the high mountain bamboo forests of central China; their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo shoots. Rare in the wild, they breed poorly in captivity. Giant pandas are protected by law in China.

Pandas are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Procyonidae.

See E. B. Schaller et al., The Giant Pandas of Wolong (1985); D. MacClintock, Red Pandas (1988).

or cat bear or bear cat

Long-tailed nocturnal raccoonlike carnivore (Ailurus fulgens, family Procyonidae) that inhabits high mountain forests in the Himalayas and adjacent eastern Asia. It is 20–26 in. (50–65 cm) long, excluding the 12–20-in. (30–50-cm) bushy, faintly ringed tail. It weighs 6–10 lbs (3–4.5 kg) and has soft, thick, reddish brown fur. The face is white, with a red-brown stripe from the eyes to the mouth. It eats plants, especially bamboo, and fruits and insects. Though an agile climber, it mostly feeds while on the ground.

Learn more about panda, lesser with a free trial on Britannica.com.

is a Japanese animated film, first released in 1972. It was written and created by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Isao Takahata, predating Studio Ghibli. This short movie hit Japan at the height of panda madness, when China began lending its treasured giant pandas to Japan and the United States.

The plot follows Mimiko, a bright little girl left alone when her grandmother leaves on a trip. She comes home to her house in a bamboo grove to find a baby panda. His father soon comes to visit and they decide to become a family. The three have adventures which are continued in another short movie from the same staff, .

The pandas of Panda! Go, Panda! are considered precursors of the Totoros, while the spunky red-headed heroine, Mimiko, is seen as a prototype Mei, the younger sister in Totoro.

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