The Red Panda, also called the Firefox or Lesser Panda (Latin name: Ailurus fulgens, "shining cat"), is a mostly herbivorous mammal, specialized as a bamboo feeder. It is slightly larger than a domestic cat (40 - 60 cm long, 3 - 6 kg weight).
The Red Panda is endemic to the Himalayas, ranging from Nepal in the west to China in the east. It is also found in northern India, Bhutan and northern Myanmar. There is an estimated population of fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. Their population continues to decline due to habitat fragmentation.
The Red Panda is quite long: 79-120 cm, or 31 to 47 in (including the tail length of 30 to 60 cm/12 to 24 in). Males weigh 4.5 to 6.2 kg (10 to 14 lb); females 3 to 4.5 kg (6 to 10 lb). The Red Panda is specialized as a bamboo feeder, with long and soft reddish-brown fur on upper parts, blackish fur on lower parts, light face with tear markings and robust cranial-dental features.
The light face has white badges similar to those of a raccoon, but each individual can have distinctive markings. Its roundish head has medium-sized upright ears, a black nose, and very dark eyes: almost pitch black. Its long bushy tail with six alternating yellowish red transverse ocher rings provides balance and excellent camouflage against its habitat of moss- and lichen-covered trees. The legs are black, short with thick fur on the soles of the paws hiding scent glands and serving as thermal insulation on snow-covered or ice surfaces.
The Red Panda is specialized as a bamboo feeder with strong, curved and sharp semi-retractile claws standing inward for grasping of narrow tree branches, leaves and fruit. Like the Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), it has a “false thumb” that is an extension of the wrist bone.
Red Pandas are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) and live in the slopes of the south of the Himalayas and the mountainous forests of the southwest of China and northeastern India, at altitudes of up to 4,800 meters, and generally do not venture below 1,800 meters.
They are sedentary during the day resting in the branches of trees and in tree hollows and increase their activity only in the late afternoon and/or early evening hours. They are very heat sensitive with an optimal “well-being” temperature between 17 and 25°C, and cannot tolerate temperatures over 25°C. As a result, Red Pandas sleep during the hot noontime in the shady crowns of treetops, often lying stretched out on forked branches or rolled up in tree caves with their tail covering their face.
Source : wikipedia