Chota is our very popular red panda. In 2016, he had a baby called Mali, who has now left Bristol Zoo Gardens for Woburn Safari Park.
The red panda is also known as the 'red cat bear'. In China it is called "hon ho" or "fire fox".
Red pandas are excellent climbers, using their strong claws to grasp branches. Their red fur helps them blend with the reddish moss and white lichen growing on fir trees in the wild. Make sure to look out for Chota at the top of his tall tree here at the Zoo.
Red pandas have glands located near their anus that produce a musky scent which may be used in scent-marking territories. They can also make a series of hisses and snorts when startled.
Red pandas are mainly herbivores, eating bamboo, grasses, roots and nuts, but they will occasionally eat insects and small rodents too.
Their jaws are strong and their teeth and forelimbs are specially adapted for manipulating and crushing bamboo shoots and leaves, which make up 95% of their diet.
Red pandas are native to the mountainous regions of Nepal and southwest China, where it is very cold and snowy.
They are perfectly equipped to deal with the cold thanks to their long, thick fur, which also helps protect them against rain. They even have fur on the soles of their feet to keep them warm when walking on snow.
Red pandas are very skillful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees.
Red pandas are classed as Endangered. The major threat to the red panda is habitat destruction and the loss of forests, due to demand for land and timber by increasing human populations in China and Nepal.
Almost 50% of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas. The loss of nesting trees and bamboo is causing a decline in red panda numbers across much of their range because their forest home is being cleared.
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