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Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens & A. styani) Fact Sheet: Summary

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens and A. styani) Fact Sheet

Red Panda resting in tree

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia - mammals

Order: Carnivora - carnivores

Family: Ailuridae

Genus: Ailurus

Species: Ailurus fulgens — Himalayan red panda

Species: Ailurus styani — Chinese red panda

Body Weight
3.7-6.2 kg (~8-14 lb)

Body Length
56-62 cm (~22-24 in)

Tail Length
28-49 cm (~11-19 in)

Back and tail reddish. Feet, legs, and underside dark. Striped, bushy tail. White on cheeks and around nose.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Southern Asia: Himalayan Mountains, Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar

Temperate and sub-tropical forests; mixed deciduous-coniferous tree species

IUCN Status
Endangered (2015 assessment)

CITES Appendix
Appendix I

Population in Wild
Difficult to estimate.
10,000 individuals estimated, although some estimates suggest as few as 2,500.

Gait is bear-like. Agile; special adaptations for climbing trees.

Activity Cycle
Diurnal, crepuscular, and/or nocturnal. Daily activity includes periods of resting interspersed with feeding. Seasonally most active during summer.

Social Groups
Solitary, except during the breeding season

Bamboo leaves and shoots

Leopards, dholes, Asian golden cats, Golden Eagles. Yellow-throated marten known to kill newborns.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
18-20 months

135 days, on average

Litter Size
Usually 2 cubs (range: 1-4)

Birthing Season
Usually early summer

Birth Weight
110-130 g (3.9-4.6 oz) at birth

Age at Weaning
13-22 weeks old

Typical Life Expectancy
Managed care: median life expectancy of about 10 years for Ailurus fulgens and 12 years for Ailurus styani

Feature Facts

  • In Central Bhutan, red pandas are believed to be the reincarnation of Buddhist monks
  • Shy, secretive animals
  • Have some similar characteristics in common with Giant Pandas, but are not related
  • Individual red pandas can be recognized by their facial patterning
  • Thick fur to insulate them during cold weather
  • Sleep in tightly curled position to conserve heat loss
  • Eat leaves one at a time.
  • Unusual digestive system. Single stomach, short gut length; lack digestion-aiding microbes.
  • Resting to conserve energy is a strategy to compensate for low-calorie/qualtiy diet. Must consume up to 30% of its body weight in bamboo each day.
  • Rapid growth of human populations within the red panda's range
  • Community programs in Asia and managed breeding programs in AZA zoos are working to help the recovery of the red panda

About This Fact Sheet

© 2011-2020 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor update to Conservation in 2017. Taxonomy, Population Status updated 2020.


How to cite: Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens & A. styani) Fact Sheet. c2011-2020. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. red panda
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

Red Panda

Red Panda walking on a limb

Some aspects of a red panda's lifestyle, such as eating bamboo, are similar to a giant panda's—but they are not related.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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