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Home > Science & Nature > Nature > Animals > Red Panda and Giant Panda Compared

Difference Between Red Panda and Giant Panda

Red Panda vs Giant Panda

Pandas have been winning the key attention of people and organizations from all around the world. They are interesting and specialized animals in terms of their food habits. Despite the classification states that they belong in the Order: Carnivora, pandas could be either omnivorous or herbivorous in food habits. It is not that hard to distinguish a red panda from giant pandas because of the contrasting differences in their appearances.

Red Panda

Red panda, Ailurus fulgens, is a small tree-living mammal live exclusively in Southern China and Himalayas. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists red panda in the category Vulnerable, as there are less than 10,000 estimated individuals in the wild. They have a shiny reddish-brown coat, which gives them the commonly referred shining cat. Their tail is long and shaggy that is characteristic for them. The length between head and the base of the tail is more than a half a metre and the tail is almost a half a metre long. Their long tail has white and reddish-brown rings. The body weight is almost same in both male and female that ranges between four and six kilograms. Red panda ears are upright, small, and whiter at back with darker to front. They mostly eat bamboo and which covers almost two third of a red panda diet. Other than bamboo, their diet consists of other vegetarian food as well as insects, small mammals, and fish. Males and females get together during mating season, despite their solitary lifestyle. Both males and females mate with more than one partner in the first quarter of the year (from January to March), and pregnancy lasts for about 4 – 5 months. The cubs are blind and deaf with a black coat, and they open their eyes around 18 days from birth. A healthy red panda would live up to 10 or sometimes 15 years in the wild.

Giant Panda

This is one of the most specialized and a unique animal in the world and IUCN categorizes giant panda as Endangered. Their wild population could be between 1,500 and 3,000. They are large in stature; with an adult male has a weight of almost 150 kilograms, a length of almost two metres, and a height of 75 centimetres. Usually, a female is about 10 – 20% less than the size of a male. Their colouration of fur is characteristic; white body and face with black shoulders, limbs, ears, and eyes. Giant pandas are solitary and territorial animals, and live in bamboo forests of Central China. They have a highly specialized diet that is bamboo shoots. Almost 99% of their diet consists of bamboo, but very rarely, they would eat other vegetarian or meat food. Usually, their daily consumption of bamboo shoots could go up to 14 kilograms. However, they mate during the second quarter of the year (from late March through May) and the gestation period could last from 95 to 165 days. Newborn cubs are very small, which is 1000 times smaller than the mother’s weight. They live up to 20 years in the wild and many more years in the captivity.

What is the difference between Red Panda and Giant Panda?

• Number of survivors in the wild is higher in red pandas.

• Giant panda is larger as the name indicates, while red panda is only slightly larger than a domestic cat.

• Red panda has a red coat of fur with small white marking on the face and ear with darker legs. Whereas, giant panda is exclusively black and white in colour of the coat.

• Both sexes are almost equal is size in red pandas, whereas female giant panda are 10 – 20% smaller than a male.

• Red panda is an arboreal species, while giant panda is a terrestrial and do not climb trees most of the time.

• In giant panda, almost 99% of their diet consists of bamboo shoot, while red pandas need those only two third of their diet.

• Red pandas mate during the first quarter of the year, while giant pandas mate during the second quarter of the year.


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