Little Red Panda
Red pandas are as close relative of the giant panda, the red panda is now classified in its own family. Like bears, they have an extension of their wrist bone that is similar to a thumb, but unlike bears, they can only partly pull in their claws. The red panda has a number of names, including fire fox and lesser panda. The word 'panda' is thought to come from the Nepalese word 'ponya'. It is also known as cat bear because it was thought to be a bear, and it washes its entire body like a cat does.
Red pandas are 79 -120 cm long, including the 30 - 60 cm long tail, and they weigh 4-6 kg. The tail has six alternating reddish and yellowish bands. The thick tail helps them balance in the trees, and they cover their faces with their tails in winter when they sleep. The body fur is long and reddish in color, black on the underside. Faces are distinctly marked, with black nose and pointed ears. The colorings ensure excellent camouflage against the white lichen and red moss that cover the trees in which they live. Red pandas have thick fur on the soles of their feet, covering scent glands and providing warmth in the snow and ice.
They are found in high mountain bamboo forests in southern Asia - in parts of China (Sichuan and Yunnan), Bhutan, Nepal and the Himalayas, and Myanmar (Burma).
Red pandas live on their own, except for females with young. They move slowly when on the ground, but in the trees they are very agile. They are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk, resting for the rest of the day in tree branches and hollows. They are fairly silent animals, except for some calls that sound like whistling or twittering. Red pandas wash themselves rather like cats, by licking their front paws and cleaning all their fur.
Red pandas eat mostly bamboo, but they do also eat acorns, berries, blossoms, lichens and sometimes eggs. They have a small bone that acts like...