What Are The Body Parts of a Red Panda? (Explained)

Red pandas are so fascinating that you just want to know so much about them. There’s a lot to learn about their diet, habitat, and even behaviors.

Moreover, to better describe these creatures, you might want to know what body parts they have.

Here’s a short answer – Red pandas have the body parts of common mammals. These include the eyes, ears, nose, teeth, snouts, legs, paws, tails, and fur.

Now, let’s look into some of them in detail and know why red pandas need them.

Red Pandas Have Tails

Red pandas have broad, bushy tails that you can clearly see unlike that of the giant pandas. It’s very long, reaching about 10-20 in (30-50 cm) in length.

It is one of the most visible and beautiful body parts of a red panda. The ringed red and white patterns on these tails add to the red panda’s beauty.

Why Do They Need Tails?

Their tails support them a lot while climbing and moving on trees. As red pandas move on slim branches or other narrow surfaces, their tails keep them steady. 

Just imagine how tightrope walkers need to use poles to maintain stability while walking over narrow ropes. 

For red pandas, their tails do the same work as these poles but very much better.

In addition, during harsh weather when it’s pretty cold or windy, red pandas use their tail as blankets for warmth. These tails are broad enough to wrap their bodies and provide protection.

Red Pandas Have Whiskers

Red Pandas Have Whiskers

You should know that giant pandas have snouts with furs and not whiskers. However, this isn’t the same with red pandas. 

Just like cats and raccoons, red pandas have long whiskers around their short snouts. This is one thing both red pandas and giant pandas don’t have in common.

Why Do They Need Whiskers?

Whiskers increase a red panda’s awareness of its surroundings. It’s just like another sensory organ for these creatures and works like the antennae of insects. 

At night, red pandas’ whiskers work with their eyesight so they can know their way about. Moreover, whiskers help these creatures find food. 

It also keeps them alert to any danger around them. 

Red Pandas Have Claws

Red Pandas Have Claws

Red pandas have claws that are long and sharp. That’s a claw on each of their five fingers. Their claws are also semi-retractable; they’re able to pull their claws back.

These claws are quite deadly body parts for a creature as peaceful as a red panda. However, these creatures need these claws to do many things. 

Let’s discuss this next…

Why Do They Need Claws?

As bamboo eaters, why do they need these claws? – 

Here are some reasons why red pandas need claws: 

  • Their claws hold them tight on tree branches as they climb. 
  • It prevents them from slipping while moving up and down tree trunks. 
  • They need claws for grooming themselves as cats do. 
  • When in danger, they use their sharp claws to defend themselves.

Red Pandas Have Fingers

Red pandas have fingers, five of them on each paw. Moreover, these fingers hold their sharp claws. That’s a single claw for each finger. 

However, if you don’t carefully watch their hands, you might think they have six fingers. What looked like the sixth finger was a false thumb.

Why Do They Need Fingers?

Interestingly, red pandas are creatures that love to hold their food in their hands while eating. With all five fingers, they’re able to hold a bunch of bamboo leaves in their hands. 

These fingers plus the false thumb help them grab bamboo stems tightly as they select the leaves they want to eat.

Do Red Pandas Have False Thumb?

Yes! Red pandas do have a false thumb. You’ll find these structures on both their front paws.

It’s not a real thumb but instead an elongated wrist bone that looks and functions like a thumb. It also can support a red pandas grip like an actual thumb.

Red Pandas Have Sharp Teeth

A Red Panda's Mouth Open with Sharp Teeth

That’s right! These creatures don’t just have teeth but sharp ones. Just like their claws, their teeth are part of their carnivorous features. 

Red pandas’ teeth aren’t like that of herbivores but carnivores instead. A fully-grown red panda has a mouth full of about 38 teeth. 

These teeth include incisors and canines that are just like that of carnivores.

Moreover, premolars and molars make up the rest of their teeth and are more adapted to grinding bamboo.

Why Do They Need Sharp Teeth?

Their teeth help grind these bamboo so well that they can digest easily. With carnivorous teeth, it’s amazing how these creatures crush bamboo other than meat.

Since they also have the digestive systems of carnivores, red pandas have to make digesting plant foods easier themselves. 

Red Pandas Don’t Have Pouches

Unlike Kangaroos, red pandas don’t have pouches at all.

These pouches are common to marsupials – mammals with pouches. Red pandas are placental mammals and give birth to fully developed babies. Placental mammals don’t need pouches. 

Read on to know why red pandas don’t need pouches…

Why Red Pandas Don’t Need Pouches

Marsupials have way shorter gestation periods than placental mammals. Moreover, both kinds of mammals give birth to live babies. 

However, babies of marsupials are born very prematurely. While still inside their moms, they will have to crawl up to these pouches to finish developing. 

However, this is a different case for red pandas as they’re placental mammals. This means they give birth to well-developed babies, unlike marsupials. 

Therefore, female red pandas need no pouches for their babies to develop fully.

Nevertheless, here are some examples of Mammals with Pouches (Marsupials):

  • Kangaroos
  • Opossums
  • Koalas

Red Pandas Have Ears

Red Pandas Have Ears

Ears are common parts of the body every mammal has. Their ears are very wide and pointed. 

Unlike that of giant pandas that are completely black, red pandas’ ears have more than one color. The back of their ears is reddish-brown in color just like their fur.

Moreover,  the front of their ears is white all around and brown at the center. 

Why Do They Need Ears?

Their ears are important for hearing just like any other animals with ears. However, the ears aren’t just big but have an incredible sense of hearing. 

A red panda’s ear is so sensitive that it can hear sounds humans can’t even hear. They can detect strange sounds within their environment. 

Even when they’re resting and taking naps, their ears are still pretty much active. It keeps them alert even while sleeping. 

With this sense of hearing, red pandas’ sense of hearing helps them to escape from predators once they notice them around.

Red Pandas Have Bones

Just like any other mammal, red pandas have endoskeletons made up of different kinds of bones. These bones include their skull, ribs, backbones, tailbones, and others.

Also Read: Do Red Pandas Have Backbones?

Why Do They Need Bones?

Bones provide support for the entire body of a red panda. They form the shape of the red pandas. 

Bones in their bodies help them stand, sit, and even walk. Without these bones, climbing trees is impossible.

Some bones protect vital organs in the red panda’s body. Their skulls protect their brain and the ribs protect their lungs.

Red Pandas Have Furs

Red Pandas Have Furs

Red pandas are also furry creatures. Their fur is the main body part that makes a red panda very attractive.

These furs cover all over their bodies even under their feet. They replace the paw pads they don’t have on the soles of their feet. 

In addition, different colors of furs make up their body color. The main color is the reddish-reddish-brown fur that covers almost all parts of their bodies. 

However, the fur covering their legs and belly is normally black or dark brown. You should also know that the red panda’s fur covers another thick fur (an underfur) close to their skin. 

They also have beautiful furs on their faces. However, the color differs between the two species of red panda – Himalayan and Chinese red panda.

The Himalayan red pandas have more white fur on their faces with little red fur. 

On the other hand, the Chinese red pandas have a more reddish fur on their face with little while patterns.

Why Do They Need Fur?

These furs aren’t just for beauty but for protection. The outer fur is a guard fur that protects the inner soft fur of the red panda. 

The red panda’s fur is also waterproof and doesn’t easily stain. The thick fur covering under their feet protects their feet from chilly grounds and also helps them climb trees without slipping. 

The red panda’s fur keeps them warm and also helps them to regulate their body temperature.  This is why the red pandas live comfortably when it gets chilly and snowy in their habitat.

What Body Parts Help a Red Panda Survive?

Teeth for Feeding

A Red Panda Eating Bamboo Shoots

Red pandas survive mainly on bamboo. Now, imagine if a red panda has the kind of teeth that aren’t able to chew the bamboo they love eating. 

It would be difficult for these creatures to survive. They can’t swallow these bamboos either as digesting them will be nearly impossible!

For the red pandas’ digestive system to break down bamboo, they need to grind these bamboo stalks and leaves very well.

Fortunately, the red panda’s carnivorous teeth are adapted to crushing and grinding bamboo very well for easy digestion. These teeth help these creatures to survive when it comes to feeding.

Fur for Protection

Red Panda in Cold Habitat in the Wild

Here are a few ways the red pandas’ fur helps protect them:

  • Their fur helps them survive the harsh weather. When it gets pretty cold in their habitat their fur helps them stay warm. 
  • It also helps them camouflage well in their surroundings. This way, predators won’t spot them easily.

Tails and Claws to Climb Well

Both the tail and claws work hand in hand in the survival of these arboreal animals. Red pandas are creatures that spend their lives on trees

Going up and down trees is something they do every day. Trees offer them shelter and protection.

Climbing is therefore a skill they must have and no doubt these creatures are pretty good at it. 

Their tails support them as they climb making climbing a more easy task for them. 

Claws are sharp and long to hold these creatures tightly on tree trunks and branches as they climb. 

With these two features, they are fast at climbing. Moreover, they can reach as high as treetops to stay safe from any threat around them.

Final Thoughts

In this article, you’ve certainly learned about the different body parts of the red pandas. 

Moreover, you’ve also seen their importance to the red pandas – the things they help these creatures to do.

Knowing what these body parts look like will help you recognize a red panda when you see one.

Body Parts like their sharp teeth, and thick fur helps them survive well, especially in the wild.

Moreover, the bright reddish-brown color of their fur and ringed tails make the red pandas very beautiful.

The red pandas also have a rare body part, “the false thumb”. However, if you ever see an animal with a pouch, it’s definitely not a red panda.

Read our full article – What Does a Red Panda Look Like? – for a full guide to a red panda’s description.