Whether the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is more closely related to the giant panda or the raccoon has puzzled scientists for years. Made for a life in the trees, the red panda travels through the canopy with ease. Not only is the panda a great climber, it is also an amazing jumper, clearing distances up to five feet. Hair on the bottom of its feet keeps the panda from slipping on branches. Red pandas spend up to 13 hours a day foraging for bamboo, eating only the youngest, most tender leaves.
- Where to see them: Southern Asia
- Length: 1.5 to 2 ft
- Weight: 6.5 to 14 lbs
- Lifespan: Up to 14 yrs
- Habitat: Mountain forest
- Diet: Primarily bamboo shoots and leaves; some roots, fruit, grasses, acorns, lichens, small animals
- Risk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Vulnerable)