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Panda Updates – Friday, June 15

Giant pandas and red pandas are both classified as carnivores; however, most people do not think of them as such since they primarily eat bamboo. In the wild, giant pandas will eat carrion and occasionally catch small animals and consume them. Wild red pandas, especially pregnant females, also supplement their diet with small reptiles, insects, birds and eggs. With this in mind, we happened to observe a rare but interesting behavior from the red panda, Idgie, today.

When a young wild bird landed in her habitat, she ran toward it, pounced on it, and started de-feathering and eating it. Obviously, I was sad for the bird, but it was fascinating to see the typically docile Idgie act as the predator that she naturally is. June is birthing season for red pandas, and though Idgie is post-reproductive, she may have some residual hormonal or instinctual activity that motivated her to feel the need to add some additional protein to her diet.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(Photo by Rand Lines)

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