Red Pandas are an endangered and an elusive mammal within the Himalayan ecosystem. They are much loved and adored across the world for their cute and fluffy appearance as well as their unique characters. Tilly, our Red Panda here at Hertfordshire’s number one zoo – Paradise Wildlife Park, is adored by everyone who visits her!
Don’t forget to visit Tilly next time you come to the Park! You can also keep up close and feed Tilly in our Meet the Red Panda Experience!
- The markings on the faces of red pandas make them extremely cute but did you know that their markings are a survival technique? The white markings on their face acts as a guide for mother’s to find their cubs in the darkness if they ever get lost due to their luminescent feature. The ‘tear tracks’ close to their eyes assist in deflecting the sunshine and keeping the sun out of their eyes.
- Did you know the fur on their feet is so thick to help insulate their bodies as well as helping them climb to high altitudes on icy and wet branches. However, due to this they don’t leave a defined print and can be difficult to keep track of.
- Red Pandas don’t hibernate but they do become dormant and go into torpor – a state of mammal physiological activity. They will often go into a deeper sleep reducing their metabolic activity and their respiration rate which both reduces exertion of energy.
- Did you know that red pandas similar to snow leopards wrap their tails around themselves to use as a large blanket and pillow for when they go into their deeper sleeps in their torpor seasons.
- Red Panda’s have a surprisingly sweet tooth! The Journal of Heredity in 2009 carried out a study that saw researchers discovering that red pandas preferred artificial sugars to plain or naturally sweetened bowls of water. Making red pandas the only non-primate species known to be able to taste aspartame, an ability previously thought unique to Old World monkeys, apes, and humans!
- Red Panda’s hold the ability to stand on their hind legs! This can often be seen as cute, however this is a defence mechanism. The act allows them to appear larger to a predator when they are provoked or threatened. Red Panda’s only real natural predators are Snow Leopards and Martens but often it is the vulnerable cubs that are in danger. The true biggest threat to red pandas is the deforestation they are facing through human interference.
- Do you know the noise red panda’s make? When in defence mode they will make their loudest call which is called the huff-quack. It can sound like a bear much larger than them to help ward off unwanted intruders. They can even defend themselves with their sharp claws or release of a foul smell from their scent glands.
- Red panda’s are arboreal animals and will spend most of their time in trees. Due to this they are not very efficient movers on the ground. They will often only ground themselves when it is absolutely necessary, because of this their front legs are short and angled inward, which causes them to have their signature very cute waddle-walk.
- Did you know red pandas have very sharp claws? Due to this they are one of the few animals that can climb straight down a tree, head-first!
- The colour combination of a red panda helps them camouflage from their predators. They blend in great with the red moss, white lichen and yellow-orange-red foliage of their forest habitat. And their black bellies make them difficult to see from below!
Bring Tilly home as she acts as an amazing ambassador for her wild counterparts and can often be seen climbing the tree branches and soaking up the sunshine.