Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Animal Spotlight: The Red Panda

So for today's "Animal Spotlight," we are going to be taking a look at a very interesting creature: the red panda.  But how did I know this?  If you were an expert in logic and detective work, you might have already come to that conclusion, however, given the fact that not only did I post the title in the last "A Look Ahead," as well as by looking at the title of this post.  However, what you probably failed to take into account was that I, Zack Neher, and I alone, am the creator of this blog.  Therefore all executive decisions (i.e. what today's post is about) are made by me and my sole business partner, Chessney Von Pawncheck

OK, that is quite enough.  All long-winded explanations put aside, today's "Animal Spotlight" is, indeed the red panda.  The red panda is something of a misnomer.  Its scientific name, Ailurus fulgens, translates to "Shining Cat"; but the red panda is no cat.  Neither is the red panda a panda, as its name might imply.  Previously classified with the bears, and at another time with the raccoons (neither of which is the red panda), scientists now believe that the red panda deserves its own, special family, Ailuridae, within the superfamily of Musteloidea.  Within Musteloidea, besides the red panda, reside the weasels and kin, skunks and kin, and the raccoon, coati (the subject of this Friday's "Animal Spotlight") and kin.
A picture of the giant panda that my mother took at the San Diego Zoo
As you probably know, the Himalayas can get quite chilly at times.  To protect itself from the cold, the red panda has thick fur, as well as fur on the soles of its feet, which serves the double purpose of keeping its feet warm, but also helps to provide a bit of traction on ice.  When the snow melts, the hair-created traction also assists the red panda in obtaining a grip on the wet, slippery branches of its forest home. 

Although mostly a vegetarian, the red panda is certainly not above scavenging eggs from a birds nest.  They consume a great deal of bamboo, just as their namesake does. 

Listed as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN, the red panda lives in the Himalayan temperate forests of Nepal, China, Tibet, India, Bhutan, and Burma, as you can see in the map.
 But for those of you who want a bit more happiness when it comes to the red panda, simply click on the amusing video link below!

Red Panda Vs. Pumpkin

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