Does The Red Panda Have Any Predators?

Red pandas love to eat bamboos and sometimes small animals, too. In fact, they can be considered predators to some smaller animals. 

You might be wondering, does the red panda have any predators?

To answer the question, red pandas have only two major predators: snow leopards and martens. Along with them are the birds of prey and smaller predators that feed on their cubs.

Sadly, humans have caused the largest threat to the red pandas; mainly through deforestation of their very unique habitats.

Let’s go down to the details as we talk about the red panda’s predators and the ways in how they protect themselves from them.

Let’s jump right into it!

The Red Panda’s Predators

As mentioned earlier, the common and true predators of the red pandas are snow leopards, martens, birds of prey, and humans.

Let’s talk about them one by one.

Snow Leopards

snow leopards that hunt red pandas
Scientific NamePanthera uncia
DescriptionThese cat species (also known as the ounce) are one of the most challenging to spot in the wild. They live at the high elevations (up to 18,000 feet) of the mountainous regions in Asia.
LocationYou can see them in the following places:
PreyThey target the following animals to become their food:
blue sheep
red pandas
Argali wild sheep
other small mammals

How Do Snow Leopards Hunt Red Pandas?

1. Snow leopards hunt red pandas through ambush or surprise. Most of the time, they stalk and wait for them to come down the tree and attack them from the top or behind.

2. They can camouflage (blend and hide) well in the snow. Thus, red pandas would not easily notice them around.

3. Their strong leg muscles can move faster than red pandas. If they ran in the snow or in the wild, the snow leopards could easily outrun the red pandas.

4. These predators have strong jaws, sharp teeth, and broad paws that can hold down a red panda. Thus, escape for the caught red pandas would be very difficult.

5. The large eyes of the snow leopards provide them with extraordinary low-light vision. This is why they can hunt red pandas even in near-total darkness.


martens that hunt red pandas
Scientific NameMartes martes
Marten species in Asia:
Yellow-throated Marten (Martes flavigula)
DescriptionThese forest-dwelling solitary (loner) animals are known to be weasel-like creatures (based on their appearance). They live in both western and eastern countries. 
LocationYou can see them in the following places:
United States
PreyThey target the following animals to become their food:
red pandas
other small mammals

How Do Martens Hunt Red Pandas?

1. Martens, like snow leopards, often hunt alone. They often wait for the perfect time to attack their prey when they least expect it.

2. These predators hunt red pandas at night time, but also hunt during dusk and dawn. They commonly hunt at night time because it is the resting time of most of their prey.

3. The semi-retractable (flexible) claws of the martens allow them to climb quickly and easily. Thus, they can hunt red pandas even on top of the trees.

4. Their highly sensitive sense of hearing can track down a red panda even in dark places. Thus, it makes them good predators in dark places.

5. The sharp teeth of the martens can easily tear up the flesh of a red panda. That is why they are great carnivores even if they have smaller mouths than others.

Birds of Prey

birds of prey that hunt red pandas
Scientific NameBirds of prey in the Himalayan region:
Slender-billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Crested Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
Himalayan Vulture (Gyps himalayensis)
Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus)
Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus)
Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)
Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata)
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Gray-headed Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
DescriptionThese flying hunters (also known as raptors) are known to feed on smaller animals. They are often seen flying across the sky of the Himalayan region.
LocationYou can see them in the following places:
PreyThey target the following animals to become their food:
Large Insects: Grasshoppers, praying mantises, beetles, and other large insects
Fish: (fish that live along coastlines or near large bodies of water)
Small Mammals: mice, voles, shrews, and gophers
Small Birds: finches, sparrows, and songbirds
Large Birds: pigeons, doves, ducks, rails, and grouse
Medium Mammals: rabbits, red pandas, raccoons, and large squirrels
Carrion: (dead animals and rotting carcasses)
Reptiles: snakes and lizards
Amphibians: frogs, toads, and salamanders

How Do Birds of Prey Hunt Red Pandas?

1. Birds of prey hunt red pandas through an aerial ambush. They oftentimes roam in the sky day and night while they are looking for possible prey.

2. They can fly higher than normal birds. Thus, red pandas would not easily notice them around.

3. Their powerful feet muscles along with talons help them grasp and kill their enemies. They hold their prey so tight to the point that escape won’t be an option.

4. The beaks of these bird predators are very strong that they can tear animal flesh no matter how hard the skin of the prey is. It is also their major killing tool.

5. These predators have sharp eyesight that allows them to see their prey even if they are way too high up in the sky. They can also use their vision both day and night.


humans that hunt red pandas
Scientific NameHomo sapiens
DescriptionThese wise bipedal hunters are on top of the animal kingdom. Unlike the usual predators that use their natural characteristics and instincts in the wild, humans are far more complex. They can use advanced knowledge that they can use for hunting. Sadly, we are considered predators for these cute red pandas.
LocationYou can see them all over the world, but red panda hunters are  mostly found in the following Himalayan places:
PreyThey target the following animals to become their food:
Any animal whether big or small can be their prey, which includes red pandas.

How Do Humans Hunt Red Pandas?

1. Humans hunt red pandas mostly through invasion of habitat. They oftentimes cut down trees to force red pandas to move out.

2. These predators can use different advanced trapping and hunting tools to catch red pandas in the wild. These traps are set up in the natural habitat of the red pandas.

3. Their strength is not as powerful as some wild predators. Nonetheless, they are still strong enough to harm or kill red pandas.

4. The human body is capable of doing a lot of things including climbing trees. Thus red pandas that hide in the trees will not have any exemption.

5. They have good senses and better brain function that allows them to strategize on how to hunt red pandas. Therefore, they can hunt regardless of whether it’s day or night.

How Do Red Pandas Protect Themselves?

Red pandas protect themselves from wild predators by staying in the trees or hiding in the rock columns. In this case, they won’t be able to reach out to non-climbing predators.

On the other hand, red pandas can turn to their wild side when their life is in danger. They can actually use physical force if needed.

They may look small but don’t underestimate their bite as their sharp teeth can cut through flesh.

Moreover, for some smaller predators, red pandas often stand on their two legs to make them look bigger and intimidate their enemies.

They will also prepare their small paws with sharp claws to defend themselves against their enemies in front.

Well, it really is survival of the fittest for the animals in the wild.


In this article, you learned that the common predators of the red pandas are snow leopards, martens, birds of prey, some small carnivorous animals, and humans. You also learned how red pandas protect themselves from their predators.

Furthermore, you realized that most animals in the world have predators, as predation is the way of life in the wild.

Sadly, in our times now, red pandas are considered endangered species.

Well, while some deaths of red pandas are caused by the concept of survival of the fittest, we are still the very reason why they became endangered.

That being said, illegal logging, animal poaching, and forest invasion are the main causes of it.

Let’s remind ourselves that we should respect wildlife as they co-exist with us.

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