Are Red Pandas Dangerous or Friendly? Can You Keep them as Pets?

Are Red Pandas Dangerous

People often get scared to pet red pandas, apart from the fact that they are irresistibly cute, so the question “are red pandas dangerous?” becomes the most searched query on Google.

Red pandas are the cutest arboreal animals you will ever find. Although they are often compared to bears and giant pandas, these quirky red creatures are fast, adorable, and unique.

In this article, you will find all the interesting facts about the legendary “firefox” or red pandas, such as whether they will bite you or not, their diet, behavioral pattern, and how to deal with a red panda if you get lucky enough to find one right in front of your eyes. 

Are Red Pandas Aggressive?

You may find red pandas native to India and Nepal near the Himalayas. These mischievous animals are often busy in their playful world, eating their favorite bamboo leaves and bamboo shoots.

The red fur of red pandas provides them the opportunity to blend in with their natural habitat and mind their own business. However, red pandas do not hesitate to show their sharp teeth and claws if they sense any predator or threat.

Red pandas are friendly as long as you have food in your hand. But when you are asking the same question to know if it is possible to keep them as a pet, then the answer might be totally opposite.  

Red pandas are nocturnal, and most of the time, they do not enter the locality and interact with people. However, there have been reports of red pandas attacking their owners or zookeepers. But at the same time, there are no exact reasons mentioned for their behavior. As a result, it is better to keep in mind that it is a good idea not to keep a red panda as a pet and to let them live in its territory and natural habitat.

Red pandas mostly remain solitary and are shy by nature. You might want to take them in your lap, hug them, or pet them by looking at their adorable eyes. But it would be the worst decision to make, as they do not even like having other pandas, let alone any humans. 

Why Do Red Pandas Stand Up?

Red pandas are usually found climbing on trees, hanging on the branches, and using their four legs. In the wild, they are mostly preyed upon by mustelids, snow leopards, and human predators. When these fire foxes (another name for red pandas) face any danger or feel threatened, they try to escape the scene by climbing up a tree or rock.  

And if they are cornered by their predator, they use their hind legs to stand up to show their defense. After that, to scare their opponent, they extend their claws, and it seems as if they appear larger in front of their threat. 

Again, it is sort of a play behavior and makes them look bigger. While out in the wild, you might come across a red panda standing.

Do Red Pandas Pose a Threat?

There are now less than 10,000 red pandas left in the forests of the whole world. Many people keep wondering if red pandas are dangerous or not. But in reality, it is the other way around since their number is decreasing at a rapid level.  

Red pandas face threats such as deforestation, hunting, and selling as pets. Breeding programs for this animal are in high demand in order to keep it alive on Earth.

Furthermore, in order to lower the chances of red panda threats, overall awareness of this unique animal should be a part of the program. 

Are Red Pandas Actually Bears?

Red pandas are often misjudged as bears or raccoons. For a very long time, researchers couldn’t distinguish their family from the other two animals because red pandas and raccoons have similar skull structures, ringed tails, and teeth.

After that, the DNA analysis showed similarities between the red panda and bear families. It was the genetic research at the end that depicted that red pandas have their own distinct family named, Ailuridae.

It is said that their evolution happened from raccoons, skunks, and weasels, mostly from the ancient carnivore species.  

What Is the Eating Habit of a Big Red Panda?

Red pandas are carnivorans belonging to the order Carnivora. But unlike the majority of carnivorans, it is not one. Accordingly, the red panda primarily consumes plants. This is one reason why the red panda differs from its other genetic relatives and is more similar to the giant panda.

More than half of their diet consists of seasonal bamboo shoots and leaves. They also consume flowers, fruits, and sometimes eggs.

How Do Red Pandas Blend in?

You may not always think “excellent for camouflage” when looking at the reddish-orange color of the red panda’s fur. However, you’d be wrong. So it seems that the red panda does quite a good job of blending further into branches of trees that are typically covered in reddish-brown mosses to hide from predators. This is helpful because dying at the hands of a snow leopard seems like a horrible idea.

How Large Can Red Pandas Grow?

Red pandas usually weigh 8 to 17 pounds when fully developed. That is roughly the size of a domestic cat. They typically measure between 36 and 43 inches from the point of the nose to the tip of the tail.

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Has a red panda ever killed anyone?

If you are observing a red panda from afar, it is highly unlikely that a red panda will attack you unless you do anything to provoke it. There are a few cases of attacks at the Beijing Zoo, but no cases have been filed where they killed any humans.

Can you touch a red panda?

It is better not to touch or pet them, as they can consider it as a threat. Whenever you are visiting one, try your best to avoid any direct physical contact. Again, ask the person who is supervising the animal for instructions on giving him food or treats.  

Can I have a red panda as a pet?

Keeping a red panda as a pet is possible when you live in India, Nepal, or Bhutan because, in these areas, they are native animals, and people in these areas know almost everything about their behavioral patterns and diet. Otherwise, it is better to leave them in their natural habitat.

Are red pandas angry?

Red pandas are usually playful animals and do not show any aggression. However, while facing any threat, they tend to shake their heads, arch back their furry tails, stand straight using their hind legs, and show their paws and sharp claws to scare their opponent. So, you will know a red panda is angry when it shows these behaviors. 


Red pandas are called fire cats in Latin and have age-old, beautiful legends in Chinese and Tibetan mythologies. Unlike the giant pandas, their population is decreasing, and they are listed as endangered. People in India, Bhutan, and Nepal are trying to protect their habitat so that they can grow their populations. 

Petting animals or approaching them without an attendant can be dangerous when visiting a zoo. Therefore, try to observe their beauty from afar and join the protests and care programs to support this little creature.

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