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Panda Updates – Wednesday, March 11

Did you know that both red pandas and giant pandas have pseudothumbs? Although they belong to different families (giant pandas are part of the Ursidae or bear family, while red pandas belong to the family Ailuridae), they both evolved with this same feature independently. This is called convergent evolution. Just like the giant pandas, red pandas have diets that are comprised of mostly bamboo. Having this adaptation allows red pandas to grasp and manipulate the stems of bamboo. Here at the Zoo, we also supplement Idgie’s diet with leafeater biscuits and some produce. In this picture, you can see Idgie using her pseudothumb to grasp a piece of banana. It’s a really interesting trait to be able to observe, and if you’re interested, there are studies that you can read that discuss more in depth about this shared trait between giant pandas and red pandas. 
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals

(photo by Amanda D.)

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