Red pandas are adorable, and fluffy animals, with teddy bear eyes and big bushy tails. They don’t look frightening, but are red pandas dangerous? While they are not a direct threat to humans, red pandas can be dangerous.
Red pandas are wild animals and should be considered dangerous. However, they will run and hide rather than face a predator. If they are unable to escape, they will use their sharp claws to scratch the attacker. Red pandas have extremely strong jaws, with a bite force that belies their small size. Red pandas can also carry rabies.
If you want to know more about how dangerous red pandas are, please read on.
Are Red Pandas Aggressive?
While red pandas are not naturally aggressive, they are fiercely protective of their offspring, and they will defend themselves if provoked.
Their preferred response to a threat is to retreat, but if running or hiding is not possible, they will get scared, and biting may be their only option.
In the wild, red pandas are solitary, unless a mother is raising cubs. They do not normally encounter humans where they live. Their natural habitat is mountainous forests in Nepal, China, and Myanmar (formally Burma). Red pandas are also crepuscular, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at dawn and dusk.
Red pandas have sharp claws between their toes and strong, sharp teeth like a cat. If they feel threatened, a red panda will scratch or bite in an attempt to scare off the threat.
When they feel threatened, a red panda will stand upright on its hind legs, with its front paws held upwards to make itself appear bigger. They will also make a loud growling noise in an attempt to scare off their attacker.
Red pandas have scent glands between their paw pads that emit a foul-smelling substance to deter predators. This substance can cause skin irritation and stomach upset if ingested. Scratches can quickly result in an infection due to this substance and from other bacteria, the animal may be carrying.
Are Baby Red Pandas Dangerous?
Adult Red Pandas may be dangerous when they feel threatened, but baby Red Pandas are less of a threat. Babies usually travel on their mother’s back until there are old enough to fend for themselves. They will remain with their mother for a short time after this.
While they are with their mother, baby Red Pandas are not dangerous, although they may still try to bite if they feel threatened.
How Strong are Red Pandas?
Red Pandas are roughly the same size as domestic cats, but they have larger paws, and their bones are much denser. Although they shouldn’t be strong enough to kill a human, they have large canines that can deliver a powerful bite and cut through skin and muscle.
They have a bite force of 584 pounds per square inch. That is stronger than a bull shark and almost 4 times stronger than a human.
Red pandas also have large paws with long, sharp claws capable of easily breaking open thick bamboo shoots. Their claws do not retract like domestic cats, so a scratch from a red panda will certainly break the skin and cause large open wounds.
They carry diseases like rabies, which can cause serious illness without proper medical attention. It is possible to die from an infection caused by a red panda bite or scratch.
Can You Keep a Red Panda as a Pet?
It is illegal in most countries to domesticate red pandas. Under the IUCN red list of endangered species, the Red Panda is a protected animal. The Trade of Red Pandas is illegal and punishable with jail time.
In Nepal and China, the laws are not as strict, but it is still not advisable to have a red panda as a pet. They are irritable animals, secretive, and prefer the darker hours of dusk and dawn. During the day, they sleep in trees high off the ground and away from predators or other dangers.
In many zoos, hand-reared red pandas are still treated as dangerous animals, due to their solitary nature. They have powerful bites and sharp claws which can easily cut through skin and crack bone.
Do Red Pandas Attack Humans?
If a red panda feels threatened and they have no way of retreating, they are likely to bite or scratch. This is especially true if humans try to handle them. Wild red pandas have no interaction with humans, as they live in dense forests, so a human trying to handle them would be like a predator hunting them.
It is not the fault of the red panda if they were to injure a human. Even hand-reared red pandas can be unpredictable around humans.
They are naturally solitary animals and can quickly become irritable around humans or if they are receiving unwanted attention.
While it is unlikely that you will die from a red panda bite, they are wild animals and can carry disease and bacteria. People often contract infections at the site of a bite or scratch from a red panda. The most common is rabies, so any person bitten or scratched should immediately get a rabies vaccination.