Do Red Pandas Drink Water? (4 Facts You Should Know!)

After a visit to the zoo, I saw red pandas eating a lot of bamboo. I immediately wondered if they drank water after eating. So, do red pandas drink water?

Here is a quick answer-

Yes, red pandas drink water. Like all other animals in the wild, these mammals need water to survive. In fact, red pandas need a lot of water because of their small body size.

Red pandas drink water for different needs in their bodies. Therefore, different sources provide water for red pandas.

In most cases, these water sources usually provide a consistent supply.

Table of Contents

Where do Red Pandas Drink Water?

In their natural habitat, red pandas drink water from different places. Some of the main places where red pandas drink water include:

  1. Rivers and streams
  2. Natural springs
  3. Hollow spaces in trees
  4. Calm waterfalls
  5. Lakes and ponds
  6. Artificial stations of water
  7. Leaves on trees

Rivers and Streams

Photo of a river as where red pandas drink

Streams and rivers are the primary water sources for red pandas in their habitat.

These water sources are readily available; red pandas can find them only after short walks.

Natural Springs

In the red pandas’ natural habitat, springs are almost everywhere. Therefore, these springs fall under the primary places where red pandas can drink water.

Red pandas can drink water from the springs the same way they do in rivers.

Hollow Spaces on Trees

Photo of a hollow tree where red pandas drink

As red pandas climb on trees, they may bump into the water sometimes. As a result, these mammals tend to use this water for drinking.

The water on these hollow spaces and trunks serves red pandas the same way as rivers.

Calm Waterfalls

Waterfalls also serve as primary water sources for red pandas in the wild. During rainy seasons, some red pandas usually drink water from these waterfalls.

However, these mammals can only drink from gentle waterfalls.

Some waterfalls can be too strong for red pandas to handle. In this case, red pandas would follow the rhythm of the water to a lower, safer section.

Lakes and Ponds

Lakes and ponds are among the most common places where red pandas drink water in their habitat.

It is easy for red pandas to spot ponds or small lakes since they are common around them.

Artificial Stations of Water

There are conservation teams that usually provide red pandas with water stations.

Red pandas can easily drink water from these stations. However, the artificial drinking stations are only in specific areas of red pandas’ habitat.

Trees on Leaves

Red pandas can also drink water from the leaves as they climb trees.

a red panda walking on a tree

Some trees usually have large leaves that may hold water from the rain. In this case, red pandas would drink the water directly.

Why Red Pandas Need to Drink Water

Water is important for red pandas because of several reasons.

Most of the reasons revolve around their health and well-being. Some of the most common reasons why red pandas need to drink water include the following:

  1. Staying hydrated
  2. Temperature regulation
  3. Digestion
  4. Reproduction
  5. Prevention of diseases

Staying Hydrated

Water plays an important role in keeping the hydration level of red pandas at optimum levels.

Red pandas can have normal bodily functions when the hydration level is okay. For example, these animals need to have proper bodily fluid balance.

The fluid balance in their bodies can only occur with proper hydration.

Temperature Regulation

In the red pandas’ natural habitat, the temperature may rise sometimes.

When the temperature rises, water comes in to help in body heat regulation. Water also helps in removing excess heat from red pandas.

If there is insufficient water in the red panda’s body, it may suffer from heat stress.


Another crucial function of water in red pandas is digestion.

Like in most other mammals, the digestive system in red pandas uses water to smoothen the process.

Since the primary diet is bamboo, lack of water may result in several digestive problems. Therefore, red pandas must drink enough water to prevent digestive issues like constipation.


Water is also important when it comes to reproduction in red pandas.

red pandas mating

When the mating season comes, water aids in improving the chance of red pandas conceiving. In other words, water helps keep red pandas’ reproductive health good.

Prevention of Diseases

Another important role of water in red pandas is to remove harmful toxins.

In the wild, red pandas can come across several harmful toxins. Some of these toxins include pesticides and pollutants.

Red pandas can accidentally consume these toxins as they feed.

These toxins usually accumulate in the red panda’s body after a long time.

The harmful toxins are responsible for diseases that may attack red pandas. Therefore, a good water supply to red pandas can help stabilize their general health.

How Do Red Pandas Drink

Red pandas drink water in different ways.

These mammals can drink water by

  1. Bending and consuming directly in their mouths
  2. Dumping their feet in the water and licking with their tongues

However, the red pandas’ drinking water method depends on the environment.

In the Wild

Red pandas usually bend towards a water source in the wild and drink directly. In this case, they usually use their long tongues to lap up the water.

Red pandas can reach the water with their feet if a stream or river is a little far.

In Captivity

In captivity, water is readily available, and red pandas don’t have a hard time drinking.

They can just bend towards special bowls and drink the water.

How Much Water Does a Red Panda Drink?

Adult red pandas drink 5 to 6.7 fluid ounces (150 to 200 milliliters) of water daily.

However, this percentage of water can vary depending on the activity level. Red pandas can drink more in captivity since the sources are available.

Final Thoughts

Red pandas drink water, and they need it for several reasons, just like all other mammals.

One of the most common functions of water in red pandas is digestion. Red pandas feed on several favorite foods that require water to complete their digestion.

Click here to learn about the top 7 most favorite foods of red pandas.