The General Journal

The student news site of Heritage High School

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The General Journal

The General Journal

Red Pandas: The Original Pandas

Dive into some not well known facts about the red panda!
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Emmah Carpenter

The red panda is a very well known animal of its home in China’s high mountains, but not many people know about them outside of their homes! There are  a lot of amazing facts about the animal that not many really know about. 

Because of their names, most would assume they are in some way related to the giant panda or bears in general as DNA results once implied a relation. but this actually isn’t the case! Red pandas are actually more related to raccoons. Despite being in different families, they are actually considered distant cousins. One thing that takes many by surprise is that red pandas are the original panda! They were first discovered in 1825 and given the name panda, meaning ‘bamboo eater.’ However, once the giant panda was discovered in 1869, it was given the name and they changed the red pandas to help differentiate. Red pandas’ true family is actually the Ailuridae family, an ancient carnivorous family that has now died off. The red panda is the only living member that remains of the Ailuridae family. It is well known that the red panda lives in China, but did you know they are also found in the Himalayas? This is the other species of red panda, the Himalayan red panda! 

The red panda’s beautiful appearance isn’t just for show! It has a  very important to its lifestyle. The red and blacks color on its fur is actually quite useful when it comes to camouflage. They are usually found in high trees, broadleaf trees. So the black on their legs and belly help them blend in with the trunks, making it difficult to see them to predators looking for them. A lot of the trees they choose to hide in actually match their red colors! The leaves and mosses are commonly a reddish color in their homes and help them hide as well. The thickness of their fur is very important as well! Since they are usually found in mountains and high trees, it gets rather cold. They need fluffy fur to protect them from the harsh winds, they also use their tails for great use too, because they like to jump and play in high areas, they need great balance. The tail is a perfect tool for this and make it much easier to get around without the risk of falling. 

Red pandas tend to roam more around the twilight period and early hours of the morning, but they can be found sleeping quite often as they sleep seventeen hours a day. Many people wonder if red pandas are friendly or dangerous, but it tends to depend on the situation. They can be aggressive if they feel threatened. When feeling endangered, the red panda will stand on their back legs as a way to scare off any predator by making themselves look bigger and scarier. Although the red panda may be a cute animal, it definitely is not fit to be a pet. They need large areas to roam and plenty of food for them to survive. This is why it is illegal to have them as pets.

Sadly, only about 10,000 of these animals are left in the wild. They are endangered and there is a risk of extinction. There are many organizations that are trying to help the survival of the animal and are hoping it will continue to live. The red panda has been roaming the earth for over five million years, and we are hopeful they continue to live. Red pandas are important as they help balance the ecosystems it lives in, it’s important that they live on. The Red Panda Network is a charity that looks out for these animals and raise awareness and money to help them survive. Be sure to check it out if you wish!

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About the Contributor
Emmah Carpenter, Staff Writer
Emmah Carpenter is a 14-year -old freshman at Heritage High School this year. This is Emmah’s first time in Journalism. She is kind of nervous but happy to be in Journalism. In Emmah’s free time, she likes to draw, play video games, and hang out with her friends after school. She also has two pet cats named Venus and Bastet, whom she named herself. Her cat Venus is a small "Tuxedo Cat" that is less than two years old; her other cat Bastet is a Siamese kitten, who is only a few months old. Emmah’s favorite book is "The Outsiders," which she brings to school every day. Her favorite animals are the red panda, raccoons, and cats. Emmah is a nervous person who tends to stay quiet, but she can be talkative once you get to know her. Emmah’s interests consist of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Bungo Stray Dogs," animals, cryptids, the paranormal, true crime, and art. She practices her art every day. Her anxiety holds her back, but she tries her hardest to get around it. Emmah is planning a trip to Salam, Massachusetts this spring. She is excited for her trip and for the rest of her time in Journalism.