|“||Oh, they must be red pandas. I've never seen one before, but they fit the description. But the red pandas are solitary animals. I wonder why there's a whole pack of them?||”|
Red Pandas are mammals that appear in The Lion Guard universe.
In the Real World
Red pandas have long reddish-brown fur, blackish fur on their undersides, and a light face with white markings similar to those on a raccoon, and each red panda has individual markings. This reddish coat and the white markings give them great camouflage amongst the red moss and white lichen that covers the tree trunks of the bamboo forest home they live in. They have a roundish head with a black nose, dark eyes and medium-sized upright ears. They have a thick bushy tail with six yellowish-red rings that are extremely long. Their tail can measure in length from about 28 to 49 cms (11 to 19 in) and is used to help in maintaining balance on the trees as well as a blanket that can protect them from the cold. They have short black legs and they have fur on the soles of their feet that stop them slipping on wet branches and also helps to keep them warm. The claws on their feet are semi-retractable so that they are not damaged when they are walking on the ground and are kept sharp for climbing the trees.
In the Real World
Red pandas live in the mountains of Nepal, central China and northern Myanmar in rainy, high-altitude temperate forests and tropical forests, according to the National Zoo.
One important factor to their habitat is bamboo. The forest must have a bamboo understory for it to be viable for the red panda. Bamboo consists of 85 to 95 percent of their diet, according to the National Zoo. Red pandas eat bamboo shoots and bamboo leaf tips, stripping them off the stems with their mouths. They may also forage for roots, grasses and fallen fruits. Sometimes, they will eat eggs, insects, birds and small mammals as well, but they mostly stick to bamboo.
While it is a big part of their diet, red pandas can digest only about 24 percent of the bamboo they eat. They need to consume 20 to 30 percent of their body weight, or about 2 to 4 lbs. (1 to 2 kg) of bamboo shoots and leaves per day. One study found that female red pandas eat about 20,000 bamboo leaves a single day, according to the San Diego Zoo.
Red pandas are primarily crepuscular — active at dawn or dusk — but they can be active any time of the day, according to the National Zoo. They are solitary creatures; males are territorial and will mark their territory with strong odor from the scent gland at the base of their tail. Like skunks, red pandas can unleash the smell when they are scared to fend off a predator. If that doesn't work, they stand on their back feet and strike out with the claws on their front feet, according to the San Diego Zoo.
These creatures spend most of their time in trees, eating and sleeping without the need to step foot on soil. They also like to lie on branches to sunbathe as they sleep. It can get a bit chilly at night where the red pandas live, so to keep warm, they wrap themselves in their fluffy tails, according to National Geographic. When temperatures drop significantly, red pandas can become dormant. Their metabolic rate gets lower and increases only every few hours to wake them up so they can look for food, according to the National Zoo.
When they wake up, red pandas groom themselves like cats, according to the San Diego Zoo. They lick their front paws and use them to wipe down their fur instead of a full tongue-to-fur bath, though. Red pandas like to stretch out on tree branches and warm themselves in the sun. Female red pandas give birth during the spring and summer after a gestation period of 114 to 145 days, according to the National Zoo, although it may be as short as 90 days and as long as 158 days. Females build birthing dens in stumps, hollow trees or rock crevices. Dens are lined with grass, leaves, twigs, moss, and small branches.
Females can have 1 to 4 young, they usually have twins, according to the San Diego Zoo. The baby red pandas are called cubs. Cubs' eyes and ears are sealed until they are around 2 to 3 weeks of age. They nurse until they are thirteen to twenty-two weeks old. They stay with their mothers in their birthing dens for about 90 days and reach maturity at 18 to 20 months. A typical life span for a red panda is 8 to 10 years in the wild and 15 years in zoos.
A red panda can be seen during The Tree of Life.
A pack of red pandas are forced out of their home by a ghost. They encounter Bunga, who they believe is the Chosen One, and beg him to get rid of the ghost. After Bunga and the rest of the Lion Guard cast the snow leopard out, the red pandas return home, knowing that they can rely on each other if they need to.
Red Pandas can be seen in cave painting at the Tree of Life.