Wild Times Archive

Red Panda

Red pandas are some of the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s most popular residents! Between their adorable faces, rusty red coats, and bushy tails, it’s easy to see how they enchant thousands of zoo visitors each year.

Red pandas are also sometimes called red cat-bears and red bear-cats because they have a lumbering gait like a bear and the whiskers of a cat. Though not related to the black and white giant pandas, these tree-dwellers also have a diet primarily made up of bamboo. The long, bushy tail of a red panda helps them maintain balance in the trees and helps to protect them against the harsh cold and wind in the mountains. Their fur consists of a soft, woolly undercoat covered by long, course guard hairs.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is an internationally recognized, successful red panda breeding location and we are a proud member of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP). To date, 16 healthy red pandas have been born right here, and most are at other accredited zoos around North America on breeding loans.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is home to three red pandas – Kalden, Tango, and Kiki!

Red pandas are usually between 50-60 cm long, not including a 30-50 cm tail. They generally weigh between 3-5 kg (6.5 – 11 lbs).

Using their long tails for balance and claws for gripping, red pandas are excellent climbers. They can be found in the mountain forests in south central China, as well as in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and northern Myanmar.

Their main food source is bamboo shoots and leaves, and they also eat acorns, flowers, and fruit. Although they are mainly vegetarians, they will also eat eggs, insects, small birds, and small rodents.

Red pandas are mainly solitary except during breeding season (January-April). They communicate through a series of snorts, huffs, barks, whistles, or squeaks. They are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn.

Red pandas breed once a year in winter. They have a gestation period of 90-145 days and give birth to small litters of between one to four young (usually two).

Approximately 8-10 years in the wild; up to 15 years in captivity.

Red pandas are endangered.
Their main threat is deforestation, which destroys their nesting sites and food source. Sometimes they are hunted for their pelts, or are captured for the pet trade.