Red pandas, also known as lesser pandas, are said to be the original pandas. They were discovered in 1821 while their giant counterparts were only discovered about 50 years later. They are also known as fire fox due to their foxy face and bright reddish coat.
Red pandas share some similar traits with the giant pandas as both feed predominantly on bamboo and have extra "thumbs" to hold their food. Also, like the giant pandas, the females give birth once a year. However, while the giant pandas often have a single cub, red pandas have litters of two to four cubs.
Red pandas can grow up to the average size of a domestic cat. They are shy and solitary except when mating and can be found in the cold mountains of Nepal, Burma and central China, spending most of their lives in trees. They forage for food and are most active at night, dusk and dawn. Red pandas consume fruits, acorns, roots and eggs.
Red pandas are endangered victims of deforestation. Their natural space is shrinking as humans destroy forests through logging and farming.