13 Nov Bizarre Animal of the Week: Red Panda
While the red panda may not look so “bizarre” when compared to some other bizarre animals we have covered, it has made the list because of it’s close resemblance to raccoons – despite only being found in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China, where racoons are not common.
Both the size and shape of the red panda are remarkably similar to raccoons, seemingly only differentiated by their reddish-orange color and facial markings. But as similar as they may look, red pandas are not actually related to raccoons. As a matter of fact, this unique creature had been mistakenly classified in the past as belonging to both the raccoon and bear families before scientists determined that it should have it’s own classification.
The red panda is a solitary creature, preferring to live alone in it’s territory among the tree branches and tree nooks. It typically sleeps during the day and then comes out in the late afternoon and early evening. Red pandas typically eat bamboo, small mammals, berries, and leaves, but bamboo is the primary source of nutrition.
Unfortunately the red panda is also listed as a vulnerable species, because their total population is estimated at being below 10,000, thanks to habitat loss, and poaching.
Want to learn more about the red panda? We’ve assembled a pile of related links for you, below:
National Geographic: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/red-panda/
Red Panda Network: http://redpandanetwork.org/