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Red Panda

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The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a shy, long-tailed mammal that lives in cold, high-altitude mountain forests in Nepal, Burma and central China. Also known as the Lesser Panda, it is the size of a house cat. This endangered species is more closely related to raccoons than to Giant Pandas.

Red Pandas are arboreal; they spend most of their time in trees. They sleep curled up on a branch. The red panda is crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. Their calls include short whistles, squeaks, snorts, and hisses. Predators of the Red Panda include the snow leopard and yellow-necked marten.

Anatomy: The Red Panda has long, soft, red-brown fur with distinctive black and white markings on its face and a ringed tail. It has long white whiskers. Like giant pandas, red pandas have an extra "thumb," which is simply an enlarged bone. The claws are sharp and partly retractible. The teeth are wide and the jaws are powerful; they are necessary to chew tough bamboo leaves. The Red Panda is about 2 feet (60 cm) long plus a long tail 1.5 feet (46 cm) long. They weigh about 12 pounds (5 kg).

Diet: Red pandas eat bamboo, fruit, grasses, acorns, roots, eggs, and small animals (like insects, small rodents, and young birds).

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