Billabong Zoo is home to two Red Panda sisters: Rato and Tito
Red Pandas have unique dark red fur which is perfect camouflage in their natural habitat in the wild (they are also known as ‘firefox”). Long, coarse hairs cover the entire body and there is a soft, dense, woolly undercoat. Their face is predominantly white with reddish brown “tear tracks” extending from the eye to the corner of the mouth. Red Pandas have long, bushy tails that help give this arboreal species balance. Their tails are marked with alternating red and buff rings. Males and females look the same. Red Pandas are solitary except for during the breeding season.
Distribution and habitat
They are found in south east Asia (Burma, China, Nepal, India and Tibet). They prefer mountainous mixed deciduous and coniferous forests of the Himalayas, particularly areas with under cover growth of bamboo. In the wild, the home range of one animal is around 2 square kilometres.
Bamboo constitutes 85 to 95 percent of the Red Panda’s diet. They selectively feed on the most nutritious leaf tips, and when available, tender shoots. They may also forage on the ground for roots, succulent grasses, fallen fruits, insects, grubs and are known to occasionally kill and eat birds and small mammals.
Life expectancy and breeding
Red Pandas may live as long as 22 years. Females do not breed after age 12. Gestation times varies between 90 – 158 days depending on weather conditions. A litter is usually two cubs. The offspring stay with the mother for about a year, which is when they reach adult size. Young will reach sexual maturity at round 18 months.
ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species).