red panda


: a small, largely arboreal mammal (Ailurus fulgens of the family Ailuridae) that resembles the American raccoon, that is found from the Himalayas to China, and that has long rusty or chestnut fur with dark underparts, a long bushy tail with rings, and a white face and inner ears with a dark stripe from the corners of the eyes to the lower jaw

called also lesser panda

Note: The red panda feeds mostly on bamboo, roots, grass, leaves, fruit, acorns, eggs, insects, and small animals (such as birds). It was formerly considered a relative of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) but is now considered more closely related to the raccoons, skunks, and weasels.

Illustration of red panda

Illustration of red panda

Examples of red panda in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Giant panda and red panda habitat, plus other facts about the animals How long do lions live? Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2023 Sundara is a one-year-old male red panda that was moved to Louisville from the Kansas City Zoo, along with handler Jessica Cunningham. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 16 May 2023 The Hertfordshire zoo in the United Kingdom welcomed a newborn red panda in July, according to a news release. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 21 Aug. 2022 Sometimes a portion of proceeds go towards specific conservation efforts, like saving the snow leopard or restoring the red panda population. Riley Davis, Discover Magazine, 28 June 2022 The Toronto Zoo's red panda caretakers are keeping a close eye on Paprika to help the red panda mom adjust to losing her cub. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 24 Oct. 2022 Also found across Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, the red panda's stronghold in China is Sichuan, where the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has a red panda nursery to further conservation efforts. Rebecca Cairns; Video By Hazel Pfeifer, CNN, 10 May 2022 The giant panda and red panda habitat, plus other facts about the animals Are tigers endangered? Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2023 Of course, my mother is not a giant red panda raging through the city, crushing cars and terrorizing the hottest boy band in the world. Domee Shi, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'red panda.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1955, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of red panda was in 1955

Dictionary Entries Near red panda

Cite this Entry

“Red panda.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

red panda

: a long-tailed mammal that is related to and resembles the raccoon, has long reddish brown fur, feeds especially on bamboo leaves, and is found from the Himalayas to China

called also lesser panda

More from Merriam-Webster on red panda

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!