Do Red Pandas Burrow? [The Truth – Explained!]

Digging and living in burrows is a common behavior for red foxes, badgers, and many other small mammals. And I wondered if red pandas burrow for any reason.

After my research, here’s what I found out! 

Red pandas do not burrow. Unlike burrowers, red pandas don’t live underground or travel in tunnels, unlike many burrowers. 

Red pandas are arboreal creatures and spend more time in trees. So they do a lot more climbing than digging.

Since red pandas aren’t burrowers, they shelter somewhere else. 

Of course, these creatures spend more time in trees. However, can they make shelter somewhere else?  

Let’s find out next!

What Do Red Pandas Use For Shelter?

In the Wild

Red Pandas on aTree

Red pandas use trees for shelter in the wild. They make shelter high above treetops or tree hollows in their mountainous forest homes in Asia.

These creatures are built to live in trees just the same way a fish is built for water. What’s more, they feel safe and comfortable in trees. 

Most importantly, living in trees keeps them safe from predators around their habitat. Some common trees red pandas use for shelter in the wild include:

  • Oaktree
  • Fir tree
  • Pines tree
  • Deodar tree
  • Maple tree
  • Larch tree
  • Birch tree

In Captivity

Unlike red pandas in the wild, captive red pandas don’t entirely live in trees. They have enclosures made for them. 

However, their shelter in zoos is mostly tree houses or even cave-like enclosures. Some zoos even try to make their red pandas living space so similar to that in the wild. 

They do this by keeping them in forest-like enclosures where there are many trees. In addition, zoos can build structures on trees for red pandas to rest or nap.

Do Female Red Pandas Build Birth Dens in Burrows?

No, female red pandas do not build birth dens in burrows. They indeed make their dens out of hollow structures.

However, burrows are not among these places. Their choice of birth dens is normally hollow trees, tree stumps, and rock crevices.

Where Do Red Pandas Like to Hide?

Red Panda on a Beautiful Fir Tree Canopy

Red pandas love to hide in trees. Interestingly, red pandas’ reddish fur is pretty good at camouflaging them in tree canopies, especially that of fir trees. 

A fir tree is a common tree red pandas love to use for shelter. These tree branches have reddish-brown mosses and white lichens similar to the red pandas’ fur color.

Being in trees keeps them high above any threat in their habitat. Staying high above the ground is enough hiding for these creatures. 

This is because red pandas can reach the thinnest branches, which their tree-climbing predators can’t reach. This way, they’ll be out of reach of their predators. 

Interestingly, red pandas can safely do this because of their unique adaptation – their false thumb. Like a real thumb, it allows red pandas to grab things. 

And thin branches are one of them. Luckily for red pandas, their predators lack these gripping abilities.

Can Red Pandas Dig?

Yes, red pandas can dig. Thanks to their long sharp claws, they can dig very well. 

However, they don’t have a burrowing or feeding lifestyle that allows them to dig very often. But they will dig, when they want to.

For Example:

There was a sad incident that happened at the National Zoo many years ago. It is a proof that red pandas can dig. 

Two red pandas died from poisoning in the zoo. And this was around Jan 11, 2003. 

The zoo safety staff, not knowing red pandas could dig, buried toxic gas in their yard. These pellets were meant to kill rats. 

Sadly, the red pandas dug out the toxic pellets and ate them. They died after eating it.

Above all, digging isn’t a usual thing red pandas do. And this is why the zoo never thought the red pandas could dig. 

Can Red Pandas Live on the Ground?

Yes, red pandas can live on the ground, but temporarily. As arboreal creatures, they mostly live on trees. This doesn’t change!

However, certain situations can make red pandas stay on the ground longer than they normally would. And they do this mostly during breeding times.

Moreover, females will build a home on the ground before they give birth. And when they finally give birth, they’ll live in these dens and raise their cubs


In summary, red pandas do not burrow. They don’t live in underground shelters like red foxes, badgers, meerkats, and many other burrowers.

Here’s more to know about red pandas’ choice of shelter:

  • Red pandas shelter in trees. They’re arboreal creatures and do little on the ground.
  • In captivity, red pandas shelter in enclosures that have trees or tree-like structures built for them.
  • Red pandas make dens out of tree hollows, tree stumps, or rock crevices, not burrows. 
  • These creatures can live on the ground. They’ll live in dens with their cubs during breeding times.
  • Red pandas hide in trees. Their fur helps them camouflage on fir trees. 
  • Red pandas might not be burrowers, but they are pretty good at digging.

Similar to digging, there are things red pandas can do that you might not even know about. 

Additionally, these are cute creatures with so many abilities. Would you love to find out? 

Check Out the 7 Amazing Things Red Pandas Can Do!