The red panda, which is also known as lesser panda, is referred by different names due to its appearance. His few other names are red bearcat and red cat-bear. It’s a small mammal that lives in the eastern Himalayas and South-western China. This beautiful creature facing extreme dangers of extinction is also known as the fire cat, small red panda, and western red panda.
The preference of bamboo comes from an ancient adaptation. Fossils of similar animals found in North America and eastern parts of Europe have indicated similar animals have been present back in history. These specific details found dating back millions of years ago have made leading scientists to believe that bamboo as well as red panda-like animals have historically been found in many areas of our planet.
The red panda has small features like a cat and the markings of a panda. It is reddish brown with a very thick ringed tail. Red pandas live in Asia and shares some of its habitat with the giant panda. Red panda’s wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals. Although national laws protect red pandas in their range countries however its population continues to decline and it is endangered due to habitat loss, fragmentation, poaching and inbreeding depression.
RED PANDA’S FOOD
Red panda being a smaller cat in its family has similar but tender diet. It mostly relies on bamboos however later it expands its diet to eggs, and other plants as well as fruits. However it is to be noted that their favorite diet is still bamboo.
The primary appetite of a Red Panda is bamboo leaves. They also eat berries, bird eggs, fresh shoots and various other plants and leaves. The diet of a red panda is very unusual depending upon the nature of this mammal. During warm weather, they also tend to each insects and fruit. Other than bamboos, a red panda’s diet extends to other foods such as fruits, nuts, eggs, flowers, and seeds. It is probable that bamboo ranges face changes attributing to the changes in temperature, moisture however it is to be considered that their ranges still enjoy abundance in the parts of southern Asia.
A giant panda is slower, lethargic and puts much less effort in chewing but its younger cousin in the family enjoys its diet a bit more. Giant panda hardly chews at all but it eats almost all parts of the bamboo other than the roots. On the other hand a red panda eats most tender shoots and leaves. As far as the cubs of red panda are concerned, they eat bamboo until they are adults and mature enough to further broaden their diet.
In order to avoid food shortage during winter season, red pandas have evolved in several ways. They rejuvenate since they have developed different means of meeting their energy needs. For example, a red panda can spend as much as 13 hours a day searching for and eating bamboo.
Red pandas have to survive cold weather and their low metabolic rate comes to the rescue, making it go as low as the sloths. During winter, their metabolism rate can go even further down which makes them one of the most incredible survivors and adaptors on our planet. Red panda’s thick fur allows it to stay warm since it covers the entire body hence it can conserve body heat and evade cold. Surprisingly the soles of their feet are also covered with fur, which gives them incredible resistance even on chilly cold surfaces.