Red Pandas & Winter: 6 Answers You Need To Know!

There are many mixed beliefs about the red panda’s lifestyle during the winter season.  In this article, we will discuss some common questions you may have about them.

Let’s get it started!

Table of Contents

Can Red Pandas Live in Cold Weather?

Yes, red pandas can live in cold weather. A study on their habitat and living conditions shows that the red pandas are better adapted to the cold than to warm conditions. 

Unlike bears, red pandas use their furs and tails as a form of protection. 

The red pandas live in the temperate forest where the temperature is 122-158 °F (50-70 ° C). This temperature range is seen for most of the year. 

However, the red pandas are relatively comfortable in temperatures that fall around 30 °F  (-1.11 °C). 

This is a strong indication that these red pandas are better suited for cold weather. 

Do Red Pandas Like Snow?

Yes, red pandas like the snow. The snow is one of the red panda’s major playgrounds.

This is because they are seen in one of their most active moods when playing in the snow. On several occasions, they have been found playing around and having fun with the snow. 

In the snow, the red pandas are seen sliding down hills or somersaulting. 

While playing, the red panda is hunted by the snow leopard. Other times, they are hunted by martens, while the panda cubs’ predators are smaller herbivores and birds. 

How Do Red Pandas Survive in The Winter?

The red pandas can successfully survive in the snow. This is because their double coat of furs serves as protection from cold.

A panda’s body is covered with a thick undercoat which has one layer of thick hair on top.

This layer of thick hair conserves the panda’s internal heat. 

Also, their furs cover the major part of their body including their feet. This way, they can easily walk around in search of food during winter without experiencing cold. 

When they are not walking around, they are seen sitting on trees.

Lucky enough, the red panda’s bushy tails which they wrap around themselves provide them with more warmth. 


What Do Red Pandas Do in the winter?

During winter, red pandas climb to the tip of trees and sunbathe. They do this by lying on top of branches for hours. 

This is the period when their ankles and sharp claws are very useful. They easily climb trees with their flexible ankles, and their sharp claws help them hold fast to the tree while climbing. 

In addition, the red pandas’ pseudo thumbs, flexible wrists, and feet all help the red pandas to reach the tree top where they sunbathe. 


Do Red Pandas Hibernate or Migrate?

Red pandas do not hibernate during winter. Instead, they use their bushy tails and thick furs to protect themselves from cold and other harsh conditions. 

However, the red pandas can migrate when the weather condition seems unfavorable. They migrate from either the lowland or highlands as the case may be.

One of the most important reasons red pandas migrate is to easily adjust to their present weather condition.

They live within 50-70°F  (10.00-21.11°C),  and an average of 30 degrees. If pandas find their temperature condition unfavorable, they either adapt or migrate. 

Generally, they love to move to a habitat with a higher level of temperature during summer. In China, summer is between December and February.

Therefore, the red pandas are likely to shift to a lower elevation of the mountain forests. 

Another reason red pandas migrate is due to the scarcity of bamboo. When they are hungry, they look out for fresh bamboo to feed on.

Just as you already know, red pandas feed largely on bamboo. 

What is the Red Panda Winter Festival?

This is the largest touring festival in the state. It seeks to achieve “Unity in diversity and communal harmony’ within the state.

It was named after the red panda of the state Sikkim. 

The Sikkim red panda winter was formerly called the Sikkim winter festival, and it is organized to bring the people of Sikkim together.

This way, they promote tourism, and oneness amongst themselves. 

Also, it is a way for them to display their rich culture and traditions to visitors and tourists from different parts of the world. 

Interestingly, the Sikkim red panda festival lasts for 10 days. During this time, there is a display of cultural activities which included both indigenes and locals. 

Some of the activities include

  • Exhibition of different varieties of delicacies
  • Cultural displays from several ethnic groups as a form of promoting their customs and culture
  • Display and sale of local artifacts and items
  • Rock contest
  • Showcasing of agricultural products and dividends
  • Different sports activities such as hiking
  • Photography contest

In Summary

The red pandas live in temperate regions of China, Nepal, and India.

However, they are better adapted to the cold regions, and this makes them not hibernate. 

Instead of hibernating, the red pandas use their furs, and bushy tails to wrap themselves up during winter. However, the red pandas can migrate when the weather is not favorable. 

In China, winter spans from December to February. And during this period, the red pandas love to sunbathe. 

Their pseudo thumbs, ankles, and wrists help them to move faster to the top of the trees where they sunbathe. 

Since they have adapted to cold weather, the red pandas tend to spend some time in the snow. Here, they summersault, and have fun in the snow. 

If you want to learn more about the behavioral patterns of red pandas, check out “Why Do Red Pandas Put Their Hands Up?”.