Meet the Animals

Chinese Red Panda

  • The Red River Zoo is home to three Chinese Red Pandas. Mattie is the Ambassador Outreach panda that is sponsored by MATBUS.
  • The Red River Zoo has made significant contributions to Red Panda conservation. More than 25% of Chinese Red Pandas found in Zoos across the country were born at the Red River Zoo! The Red River Zoo is known locally and globally for their success in Red Panda breeding.

What do I look like?

Many people are surprised when they first see me because I do not look like the Giant Pandas that people are more familiar with. I look more like a raccoon, or maybe a bear, but I am in a family of my own. My back fur is a rusty red color and I have a darker brown-black color fur on my belly. In the wild the colors match the moss that grows on the trees where I live. My face has patches of white that make my face very unique. My long, bushy tail has white rings on it. I am a very distinctive looking mammal.


What do I eat?

I am an omnivore. This means I eat a mixture of plants and other animals to give me energy. I like to eat a variety of plants, berries, and fruit. Sometimes I will eat eggs and small rodents. Like the Giant Panda, I love to eat bamboo and it accounts for a large part of my diet. My favorite treat is grapes.


Where do I live?

In the wild I would be found in the steep, forested, mountain slopes of the eastern Himalayas of India, Nepal, and Myanmar (Burma) and also in the southwestern Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Yunnam. Sometimes Giant Pandas are my neighbors.


How big is my family?

After four months of being pregnant, my mother gave birth to me – her only cub. Red pandas sometimes have triplets, but twins or a single cub is most common. I usually like to live by myself because I am a solitary animal, but sometimes we like to live in pairs or small family groups.


How am I adapted for winter?

I am much more comfortable in cooler weather. It is very chilly high up in the mountains, but I have natural adaptations to keep me warm. My fur is thick and covers my entire body. I even have fur on my feet! The fur on my feet keeps me warm and protects me from slipping. My long tail not only helps me balance, but it also acts as a blanket that I can wrap around my body when I need additional insulation. My tail helps to keep my nose warm when I curl up.

Did You Know?

The refulgen subspecies of Red Panda are very rare in the wild and are very difficult to breed in captivity. Mattie and the rest of the Chinese Red Pandas at the Red River Zoo are refulgens.

Chinese Red Pandas are crepuscular animals. This means they are most active at twilight, right away in the morning and right as night falls. It is not uncommon for them to nap in the afternoon.

Red Pandas have a special wrist bone that acts like a type of thumb that helps them climb high up in the forests and aids them in reaching for bamboo.

Female Red Pandas are only receptive to breeding one day out of the year and typically in the month of February.

After giving birth, a female needs to eat three times the normal quantity of bamboo to produce enough milk for her cubs.


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Ailuridae

Genus: Ailurus

Species: Refulgens

 

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