What Are Some Facts About Red Pandas?

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The red panda has markings reminiscent of the giant panda, but it boasts a red, black and white coat. Despite its markings and name, the red panda is in its own taxonomic genus, although in the past it was thought to be closely related to both giant pandas and raccoons.

The red panda grows only up to 46 inches long including the tail, making it about the size of a cat, and weighs in at a maximum of 20 pounds. Like the giant panda, the red panda eats bamboo and lives in the mountains. Unlike the giant panda, however, it lives in a wider range in southern Asia and eats foods other than bamboo, such as fruits, nuts, roots and anything else it can forage. The red panda lives on its own except during mating season. When it gives birth, the young live with their mothers for only 90 days before venturing out on their own.

The red panda has some unusual anatomical features, such as an appendage that extends up from the wrist and acts like a thumb for gripping. It uses its tail to not only wrap around branches, but as a blanket in cold weather as well. Despite these adaptations, the red panda is currently endangered, mostly due to deforestation and habitat loss.