A Guide To Red Panda’s Survival (5 Things To Know!)

Have you wondered how red pandas, the most seemingly dumb creatures, survive? 

This is because red pandas are excellent climbers. They can quickly climb trees and stay on top of trees to escape their predators.

They are also very adaptive animals. This is evident when looking at their diet. Even though they are omnivorous, red panda lives on bamboo.

In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know about the red panda’s survival. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What Is The Survival Rate Of Red Panda?

A picture of red pandas

The survival rate differs based on whether they live in the wild or in captivity.

Red Panda Survival Rate in the Wild

The average survival rate of red pandas in the wild is 50%. Approximately 10,000 pandas living in the wild die per year. Red pandas can live for an average of 15 years in the wild. 

The survival rate of this animal depends on many factors including habitat and diet.

Another factor determining the survival of pandas is genetics. Hereditary diseases and disabilities impact hugely on their survival rates. If the parents are long-lived, their offspring would also live pretty long.

A quick side fact: Red pandas are also known as lesser pandas! 

Red Panda Survival Rate in Captivity

The survival rate of red pandas in captivity is up to 76.26%. Red pandas have a longer tenure in captivity. They live an average of 10-20 years in captivity.

But with good care and supervision, they can also survive up to 23 years. 

As the animals in captivity are treated very well and are protected, they live longer. The caregivers supervise their every activity and ensure that they are safe. 

Red panda cubs are the ones who have a high mortality rate both in the wild and in captivity. 

Zoos or research centers thrive on improving these animals’ lives. They use modern medicines and technologies to make sure red pandas are healthy.

How Do Red Pandas Survive?

By Escaping Their Predators

Red pandas will climb tall trees and try to escape danger when threatened. As they are a distant relative of raccoons, they sometimes behave like them. 

If they cannot flee,  red pandas will stand on their hind legs to appear larger. They think that upon standing, they can scare their attackers and trick them.

Red pandas also have sharp claws to protect themselves from their enemies. These are intelligent creatures, and they can even warn others if they feel danger is near. 


Red panda mainly survives on bamboo. Their diet consists of 90% bamboo, and they can eat 3.3 lbs (1.5 kgs) of leaves and 8.8 lbs (4 kgs) of bamboo shoots a day.

The diet includes small rodents, birds, eggs, and other small animals. Bamboo is not enough to provide them with daily nutrition; hence, red pandas eat a lot of bamboos.

Their digestive system is similar to that of giant pandas. The metabolic rate of the red pandas is also very high. 

Thick Fur

Red pandas’ thick fur works as camouflage and can protect them against harsh climates.

The average temperature red pandas can withstand is 35°F (1°C) to 75°F ( 24°C) Since they live in fairly cold regions, the fur protects them from the cold. 

What Are Red Panda’s Survival Skills?

Red Pandas Are Incredible Acrobats

All thanks to their bone structure, red pandas are acrobatic. By acrobatic, we mean that red pandas are very flexible and can perform attractive body movements like gymnasts. 

The species are known as forest acrobats for their unique skills. They can jump from one tree to other with ease. Red pandas are also very skilled in climbing trees.

Their Unique Features

The claws of a red panda are just like a cat. They have semi-retractable claws that they use to grip a tree branch. Red pandas also have flexible ankles that help them with climbing down from anywhere head first.


A picture of a red panda climbing a tree

The semi-retractable claws are perfect for climbing slippery or mossy tree branches. Red panda’s bones, such as the fibula and tibia, are 180 degrees rotatable.

This allows them to climb up and down trees without any hassle.


Red pandas use their ringed tails as a balancing tool. The bushy tail is marked with alternative rings. These rings help red pandas balance their bodies while swimming and climbing. 

The further use of their long, fluffy tail is adorable. Red pandas use their tails to keep themselves warm. They wrap themselves with their tail when they need that extra warmth. 

Front Paw

The front paws of red pandas have something similar to that of giant pandas’, (e.g the pseudo thumbs).

These are long wrist bones that act as thumbs. But for a red panda, it is pretty helpful. The thumb is used to hold onto objects.

Red pandas use their thumbs to have a tight grip on the bamboo they are eating or the branches they are climbing. 


An image of a red panda with thick fur

The thick fur of red pandas keeps them warm in cold climates. Their reddish-colored fur also gives them perfect camouflage. This means they can merge with their surroundings because of the color of their fur. 

Territory Marking

Red pandas mark their territory with either their urine or their scent glands. Red pandas’ scent gland is situated on their foot pads. The scent can also be used as a warning of danger.

Red pandas warn other pandas if they feel any type of danger nearby by releasing scent. It works as a border for other animals and warns them. 

The scent glands on the bottom of a red panda’s feet produce a liquid with no color. The scent is also odorless to humans. Red pandas use their tongues to identify the smell.

Can Red Panda Survive Anywhere?

The short answer to this question would be NO.

The red panda cannot survive anywhere as it needs a specific habitat. Red pandas live in temperate forest regions in

  • China
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Myanmar
  • Bhutan

Their diet consists mainly of four types of bamboo:  

  1. Arrow bamboo, 
  2. Bisset bamboo
  3. Yellow Groove bamboo, 
  4. Stone bamboo. 

These bamboo are found in the specific areas the red panda lives in.

Red pandas can survive in captivity. However, their enclosers must be made keeping in mind their natural habitat. Red pandas have lush, thick coats. This coat keeps them warm, and they will not be able to survive in warmer regions.

The other factors needed in their natural habitat are ample water supply and hollowed logs. The tall trees are also an essential part of their habitat. The trees and logs allow the red panda to hide, escape, and play. 

Ideal Condition For Red Panda’s Survival

  • Red pandas survive in high-altitude mountain regions with temperate climates. 
  • They also need enough supply of bamboo as this is part of their main diet.
  • These cute creatures also need plenty of clean water to survive.
  • Red pandas prefer natural objects like tree logs, tree stumps, and fallen branches.
  • They also need tall trees to survive. Tall trees are used as hiding places and for naps as they are safe.
  • Although they prefer temperate forests, they can also survive in tropical forests if other necessities are met.

How to Help Red Panda’s Survival?

There are many ways we can help this beautiful species survive in our world. Red pandas are adorable creatures who can entertain us with their mere presence. To help them, you can:

Adopt a ‘Red Panda’

You can adopt or sponsor a red panda through certain websites where you would pay for their medical or daily expenses.

Spread Awareness

You can also start a page to raise awareness in people about how important red pandas are.

Start a Fundraiser

You can create a social media fundraiser if you cannot help red panda financially. The money from the fundraiser events would be used to care for the pandas properly.

Educate About Environmental Issues

Just like spreading awareness, educating people about deforestation and illegal hunting would help save the creature.


The average survival rate of red pandas is 10 to 20 years. These cute animals can survive both in the wild and in captivity. But red pandas tend to thrive more when they are cared for.

Red pandas do not need to worry about food, medical conditions, or predators in captivity.

Red pandas are made to survive in the wild. Their sharp claws and ankles make them natural acrobats. They also master at climbing trees and sensing danger. 

They need a place to have particular characteristics to be able to survive. Red pandas love deep shrubbed forests on the high mountains with temperate conditions. The forest must have tall trees for them to survive.

You can help a red panda by spreading awareness and financial aid to raise one. Fundraisers and campaigns to help this species survive longer also count.

Just like red pandas, giant pandas also need protection. Read 4 Reasons Why Giant Pandas Need Protection to learn why you need to protect these cute animals!