How Do Red Pandas Hunt (5 Common Foods They Eat!)

Cats have sharp spines on their tongues that help them rip their prey. This is the hunting technique of cats and you must be aware of it. 

This might make you question, ‘How do red pandas hunt?’

Red pandas often stalk their prey by sneaking up around them very quietly and killing them.  

They also use their false thumb to tightly grip the prey so that it does not escape. 

Similarly, they have other hunting techniques to catch and kill their prey. 

In this article, I will discuss how red pandas hunt and all about their unique hunting behavior. 

So, let’s start! 

Table of Contents

What Kind of Animals Do Red Pandas Prey On?

The red pandas have very few choices when it comes to non-vegetarian diets. This is mainly because of its primary adaptation to feed on bamboo. For the same purpose, their teeth also evolved with flattened edges. 

But they do prey on eggs and small animals given below. 


Eggs are the easiest food for red pandas as there is no effort to hunt them. The red pandas use their sense of smell to locate eggs from the nest of birds. 

The opposable false thumb becomes very useful while holding and breaking the egg.

Small Birds

Red pandas also hunt small birds that are found in their region which include quails. It can attack the nest of other birds to catch the young birds in the nest when it is alone.


A picture of rodents

In some cases, the red panda can feed on small rodents like squirrels and rats.

Small Reptiles

Small reptiles, like lizards, can be the food of red pandas. However, they cannot be included in the diet regularly as the red pandas live in colder climates where reptiles are less seen.


A picture of insects

The red pandas might also feed on insects in some cases, such as spiders or ants. It also feeds on insects that dwell on bamboo plants.

However, studies showed that red pandas bred in captivity rarely show hunting and stalking behavior. 

This is because they are comfortable feeding on bamboo and fruits and the occasional treats that are fed to them in captivity 

How Often Do Red Pandas Hunt?

Red pandas hunt very rarely because their primary source of food is bamboo. However, if they hunt it’s mostly during the night when they are the most active.

They might be seen feeding on animals when there is not enough bamboo to feed on or when they want a change in taste. 

Thus the diet of insects, eggs, small birds, insects, and reptiles is mainly seasonal. 

However, mother red pandas might eat this diet more frequently when she is trying to gain weight. This is before giving birth to a baby red panda.

Thus, hunting behavior among red pandas is still a rare occasion. Only during the time of pregnancy, do the red pandas eat them more frequently.

Where Do Red Pandas Hunt?

Red pandas often hunt in the trees where they dwell. They, therefore, hunt in their own habitat to which they are well adapted.

When hunting for small birds and animals, the red panda looks for them on the branches of the trees. They rarely attack other territories to hunt.

Do Red Pandas Hunt in Groups?

A picture of two red pandas

Red pandas are solitary animals and they mostly stay alone throughout their lifespan. 

Thus, red pandas are never seen hunting in groups as it is not a part of their behavior. 

Even red pandas that are bred in captivity do not hunt in groups. 

Hunting therefore is a very occasional and single effort given by a few really hungry red pandas. This is also when they are unable to find a proper source of bamboo to feed on.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the red panda feeds almost exclusively on bamboo, for which it has specialized teeth. Therefore, the behavior of hunting is very rare among them.

While hunting, the red panda sneaks up on its victims. It also uses its false thumb to grip its prey. 

The frequency of hunting is very low among red pandas as the supply of bamboo is often enough as a food source. 

Sometimes it hunts seasonally when other food is less, or if the panda is pregnant and needs to gain weight quickly.

Being solitary animals, the red panda does not hunt in groups like other animals.

Red pandas don’t hunt in groups but do they live in groups? Read Do Red Pandas Live Alone Or In Group? (5 Things To Know!) to find out!