World Red Panda Day is celebrated on 21 September and this gives us the perfect chance to learn some amazing facts about this animal. Take a look,


They Are Not Pandas

Despite their name, they are not closely related to pandas. Red Pandas are placed in a common group with bears, pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walrus), raccoons, and mustelids (weasels, skunks, otters, and badgers) but a research done in 2000 suggests they are not really related to bears or pandas. The red pandas are more closely related to skunks and racoons!


They Are About The Size Of A Domestic Cat

They might be called pandas but unlike the black and white Giant Pandas, the red pandas are about the size of domestic cats.




They Have A False Thumb

Red Pandas have a thumb like finger which is actually a growth of the wrist bone. It is said to have evolved to help the red pandas climb trees easily and eventually also help in holding and eating bamboo shoots and leaves. Giant pandas too have this kind of false thumb.


They Have A Sweet Tooth

In a study done in 2009, it was found that red pandas preferred drinking sweetened water to plain water. What’s more, the animals preferred artificial sweeteners to natural ones! That makes them the only non-primates to do so.


They Tweet

No, red pandas are not on twitter like you and me, but they do tweet because the sound red pandas make is called twittering.

(Read more: Interesting Endangered Animal Facts From A to Z)


They Have Many Names

According to a very interesting insight from Scientific American,

“Red pandas have different names depending on where you are. In Nepal, they’re called bhalu biralo. Sherpas call the critter ye niglva ponva or wah donka. But the Western world did not always call it a red panda. In 1821, the English naturalist Major General Thomas Hardwicke made a presentation on the creature at the Linnean Society in London. That is typically regarded as the moment the red panda became known in Western science. In his presentation, titled “Description of a new Genus of the Class Mammalia, from the Himalaya Chain of Hills Between Nepaul and the Snowy Mountains,” he argued that the animal be called a “wha,” explaining, “It is frequently discovered by its loud cry or call, resembling the word ‘Wha’, often repeating the same: hence is derived one of the local names by which it is known. It is also called Chitwa.” Unfortunately, Hardwicke’s paper wasn’t published until 1827, by which time the French zoologist Frédéric Cuvierhad already published a description of the species along with a drawing. Naming rights, therefore, went to Cuvier.”

They Have A Browser Named After Them

In Chinese, “fire fox” is another name for red panda. It is said that Firefox browser is named after it.

Red Panda distribution map via

They Are Losing Their Home

Almost 50 percent of Red Panda population is found in Eastern Himalayas across India, Nepal and Bhutan. However, the loss of nesting trees and bamboo trees is causing the pandas to lose their habitat.

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About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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