Are Red Pandas and Racoons Related? (Solved & Explained!)

Red pandas and raccoons look quite similar in appearance. This might make you wonder if red pandas and raccoons are related. 

Red pandas and raccoons are not directly related.  Both of them belong to different animal families. However, they are part of an extended family, or you can understand them as distant cousins. 

Since red pandas and raccoons are somewhat related, you might ask what are the similarities between the two species. Let’s find out! 

Red Panda & Racoon Similarities

Below are the 4 similarities between red pandas and raccoons. 

Similar Faces

A picture of red panda's face to see its similarity with that of a racoon's face

Red pandas and raccoons have almost similar-looking faces. Both of them have a small round face with the same face mask. 

You can see dark patches around their eyes and similar markings on the rest of their face. 

Moreover, they both have tiny, black noses on their face. 

Fluffy Tails

An image showing red panda with its fluffy tail to see how it is similar to a racoon's tail

They both have fluffy, ringed tails that look similar. Their tails have very less muscles and are mostly covered with fur. 

The tail of a red panda is 28–48.5 cm (11.0–19.1 in) in length. Red Pandas use their long, bushy tail for balance and to cover themselves in winter for warmth. 

On the other hand, the tail of a raccoon is 29 cm (12 in) in length. Raccoons also use their tails for balance. Moreover, they also use their tails as visual cues for getting attention.

Same Skull and Body Size

You will find the skull size and body size of red pandas and raccoons almost the same. Both red pandas and raccoons have wide skulls that are 10-11 cm (4-5 in) in size. 

Moreover,  their body sizes are also almost similar. A red panda has a body size of about 51–63.5 cm (20.1–25.0 in) and a raccoon has a body size of 60-90 cm (23-37 in).

Identical Teeth Structure

An image of teeth structure to see how red pandas and racoons have identical teeth

Red pandas and raccoons share similar teeth structures.  They both have sharp teeth that help them in biting food. 

They also use their teeth to threaten their enemies. 

Red Panda & Racoon Differences

Below are the 4 major differences between a red panda and a raccoon. 


Red pandas and raccoons belong to different families. As per Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, raccoons belong to the Procyonidae family. On the other hand, red pandas are the only surviving members of the Ailuridae family.

Body Colors

Red pandas and raccoons have different body colors. Red pandas are reddish-brown whereas raccoons are grayish-black. 


Another difference is between their diets. Red pandas mostly eat bamboo whereas raccoons love eating water animals like fishes, lizards, and small geckos. 

DNA Structures

An image showing scientists looking at DNA to figure out the differences between the DNA structures of Racoons and Red Pandas

Red pandas and raccoons have different DNA structures. 

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have learned about the similarities and differences between red pandas and raccoons. 

Red pandas are similar to raccoons in terms of their physical features like head, skull, teeth, and tail. 

However, they both belong to different animal families and have different skin colors, and eating habits. 

We hope this article will help you distinguish between red pandas and raccoons. 

Don’t forget to share this article if you find it useful! 

Also, read our full guide about What Is A Red Panda?