Celebrate Mother’s Day with Red Panda Network as we pay our respect to the planet’s best mothers: red panda moms! Red pandas are an endangered species and red panda infant mortality is high. Habitat loss, deforestation, human disruptions, natural predators and illegal poaching all threaten the future of red pandas. But red panda mothers do their part to ensure survival of the species, and today we celebrate their many skills and charms!
Red panda mothers are industrious. Just a few days before red panda moms birth their babies, they set about building. In the wild, they build a birthing den in a hollow tree or a tree stump and line it with leaves, grass, moss, and tree branches to nest their young. When one nest doesn’t seem like enough, red panda mothers will build multiple birthing dens and move their babies from nest to nest, in order to thwart predators and ensure survival of their babies. This instinct is so strong that zookeepers breeding the species in captivity must also provide multiple nest boxes for expectant red panda mothers, to facilitate the birthing process.
Red panda mothers are vigilant caretakers. Red panda mothers watch their offspring vigilantly at first, keeping them hidden inside the birthing nest for the first two to three months after birth. Even in captivity, red panda mothers are so good at keeping their babies hidden, zookeepers now use remote cameras to monitor the health of newborn red panda cubs.
Red panda mothers are very attentive to their young. Though adult red pandas are by nature solitary animals, red panda mothers stay close to their offspring for roughly one year after birth, or until next mating season.
Red panda mothers are great teachers. Red panda mothers teach their cubs to climb trees, hunt for food, which includes lots of fresh bamboo shoots, berries, blossoms and small mammal eggs.
Red panda mothers are champions. Red panda mothers birth between one and four cubs. This number varies widely, but it’s quite common to hear of red pandas having twins, even in captive breeding programs at zoos. Red panda cubs can be a handful, quite rambunctious and playful, but red panda mothers know when it’s time to play and take their cubs out of the den to let them romp and roll freely.