While they may share a common name, there are some significant differences between a red panda vs panda. Both of these creatures are special and unique in their diets and behaviors, as well as their shared habitat. They are not directly related to one another. But what other differences separate them from each other?
In this article, we will go over all of the differences between red pandas and traditional pandas, including their appearances and sizes. We will also discuss their geographical location and habitat needs, as well as their life spans. Let’s get started and learn about these two beautiful animals now!
Comparing Red Panda vs Panda
|Size||7-15 pounds; 20-45 inches long||250-550 pounds; 5-6 feet long|
|Appearance||White and red fur with detailed masked appearance and ringed, bushy tail; rounded face and eyes with claws and thumblike digit||Large and round black and white body; distinct black rings around their eyes. Large paws and jaws, with a special thumblike digit that allows them to hold food|
|Location and Habitat||Asia; high mountain forests and areas with bamboo||Asia; originally found in lowlands, but now lives in high mountain forests and areas with bamboo|
|Behavior||Solitary and quiet; extremely shy and nocturnal, sleeping in trees daily||Solitary while males control more land than females; spends all day eating bamboo|
|Lifespan||8-12 years||20-35 years|
Key Differences Between Red Panda vs Panda
There are many key differences between red pandas and pandas. Pandas are members of the Ursidae family, while red pandas are members of the Ailuridae family, unique to them alone. Red pandas are much smaller in both length and weight compared to giant pandas. Finally, pandas live a much longer life than red pandas do, likely because of their size.
Let’s talk more about these differences in detail now.
Red Panda vs Panda: Size and Weight
One of the primary differences between red pandas and pandas is their size. Pandas far outweigh red pandas, by a large margin. The average giant panda weighs anywhere from 250 to 550 pounds, while red pandas only reach 7 to 15 pounds, about the size of the average house cat.
Given this large size difference, giant pandas also grow longer in length compared to red pandas. The average red panda reaches anywhere from 20 to 45 inches long, while giant pandas typically grow 5 to 6 feet tall. This is likely due to the panda’s genetic influence, as they are technically bears, while red pandas are not.
Red Panda vs Panda: Location and Habitat Preferences
There are not very many differences in the habitats of the red panda vs panda. This is an interesting concept, given the fact that these two animals are only related through distant relatives and otherwise don’t look anything alike. However, the panda once occupied a very different habitat compared to the habitat it occupies now out of necessity.
Pandas once occupied lowland areas of China, while red pandas have always occupied higher elevation mountains and deep forests. However, due to loss of habitat, both red pandas and giant pandas live in high elevations and bamboo forests. They enjoy cooler temperatures and wet climates, and are always found near bamboo and water sources.
Red Panda vs Panda: Appearance
You can easily tell a red panda from a giant panda based on their appearances alone. Not only does the giant panda far outweigh the red panda, but it also has very different colorings. You likely know that pandas are black and white, while red pandas are red and white. Red pandas also have a long tail with unique rings on it, while pandas have small nubs for their tails.
Both of these creatures also share thumblike digits that allow them to hold their food while they eat it, likely something given to them by their shared ancestor. However, red pandas have a uniquely masked face, while pandas have black circles around their eyes only. The body shape of these two creatures is also different, as pandas are very round and bearlike, while red pandas are more similar in appearance to raccoons.
Red Panda vs Panda: Behavior
There are some distinct behavioral differences between red pandas and pandas. Both of these creatures prefer a solitary existence, while male pandas maintain large swaths of land as their territory compared to red pandas who don’t necessarily care about that sort of thing. Red pandas are also nocturnal, while pandas spend the majority of their day eating bamboo.
Another distinct difference between these two creatures is where they prefer to sleep. Pandas sleep on the ground primarily, while red pandas sleep in trees with their tails wrapped around them for warmth and protection. Red pandas also need to eat significantly less than pandas do, given their size differences.
Red Panda vs Panda: Lifespan
A final difference between red pandas and pandas is their life span. Pandas far outlive red pandas, likely due to their size and lack of natural predators. The average red panda lives anywhere from 8 to 12 years, while panda bears live 20 to 35 years on average. However, poaching and loss of habitat is affecting the lifespan of both of these creatures. That’s why conservation programs in China and zoos around the world help both red pandas and pandas live the long and happy lives that they deserve.
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