It’s time to step aside giant pandas, and take note of arguably one of the cutest mammals on the plant, the red panda! I have mentally compared this playful ball of fluff to the cutest animals I can think of, and so far it has completely dominated the cuteness category. It looks like a hybrid mix of cat, fox, raccoon and teddy bear. I really just can’t get over how stinkin adorable they are!
Watching these over the top balls of cuteness bouncing joyfully around and playing in the snow, I had to wonder to myself; why have I never heard of these guys before? Turns out I am not alone; very few people have heard of them and even have seen them. They are on the endangered species list, and seem to be overshadowed by their extremely popular relatives, the giant panda. They have even been referred to as the “lesser panda”; now that’s just plain rude!
This could be because they are animals of solitude and tend to be very shy souls. They prefer to live nestled high in the tress and only become social with each other during mating season. They are generally only found deep in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. Due to deforestation in these areas, this animal is in great danger of extinction. Sadly, they are classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, with an estimate of less than 10,000 of them on the planet today.
The red panda has given scientists a run for their money. While they are widely believed to be a relative of the giant panda, they actually just share the same name. They were also once thought to be members of the raccoon, but in fact the red panda is so unique it has its own classification called Ailuridae. Now that’s more like it!
In my opinion the red panda brings home the gold medal in the cuteness Olympics, I can only hope we don’t lose these remarkable creatures for good.