Giant panda vs. Red panda

Giant panda vs. Red panda

Despite their names, giant panda and red panda are genetically unrelated types of mammals. Red panda is member of Ailuridae family, while giant panda belongs to the bear family. Giant panda and red panda are native to Asia. Both species can be found in bamboo forests on the altitude of 5.000 to 15.700 feet in the southern parts of China. Besides that, red panda also inhabits Himalayas and mountainous parts of north Myanmar. Both giant panda and red panda are on the list of endangered species due to accelerated habitat loss and uncontrolled hunting (because of their fur). Aside from similar habitat and dietary preferences, giant panda and red panda do not have much in common. They differ in:


Giant panda can reach 4 to 6 feet in length and 150 to 300 pounds of weight, while red panda can reach 20 to 25 inches in length and 7 to 13 pounds of weight.

Shape of the Body and Tail

Red panda has roundish head, elongated, raccoon-like body and long, bushy tail. Giant panda has globe-shaped head, barrel-shaped (bear-like) body and short, stubby tail.


Giant panda has thick, wooly, white-colored coat. Legs, shoulders, ears and areas around eyes are covered with black fur. Red panda has red, soft fur. Its legs are dark, nearly black-colored, while cheeks, ears, nose and areas above eyes are white. Tail is covered with alternate red and orange rings.


Nearly 99% of diet of giant panda and red panda is based on bamboo. Both animals use extended wrist bone, called "false thumb", to firmly hold bamboo shoots during eating. Giant panda eats bamboo stems, while red panda eats bamboo leaves. During the summer, red panda supplements its diet with various fruit, birds, eggs and small mammals. Giant panda occasionally consumes tuber, grass and carrion.


Giant panda is an excellent climber, but it spends most of the time of the ground. Red panda spends most of the time on the trees. It descends to the ground only to give birth.


Mating season of red panda takes place from January to March. Pregnancy lasts 112 to 158 days and ends with one to four, black cubs that are blind and deaf at birth. Mating season of giant panda takes place from March to May. Pregnancy lasts 95 to 165 days and ends with very small twins (1/800th to 1/1000th of their mother's weight). Baby giant pandas are pink, blind and toothless at birth. Since mother cannot produce enough milk for both babies, only stronger cub survives.


Red panda can survive 10 to 15 years in the wild, while giant panda can survive 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in the captivity.

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