Maybe I’m one of the last to know, but I hadn’t knowingly seen a Red panda until I saw a photo of one on poet Kelli Agodon’s blog, Book of Kells: http://ofkells.blogspot.com. Kelli describes the Red panda–a panda related to the raccoon and skunk–as looking like it’s wearing “a black onesie,” which is a darn cute description.
But I’m especially interested in the Red panda’s calico coloration.
I didn’t know that the nickname of the Red panda is “Firefox.” And yes, that means the Mozilla Firefox operating system is named after the Red panda and has an image of the Red panda as its logo. I never noticed that either. I assumed that Firefox and the image on its logo was a red fox! (Now I have to go open up my Firefox just to look at the panda logo. I don’t like to use Firefox, even though it’s more functional for lots of websites than Safari is.)
I haven’t read anything yet about any adaptive reason for the red + black + white coloration on this small panda (11 pounds at maturity), but if anyone knows something about it, please write a comment or post a link there. These little pandas eat primarily bamboo-but only the tenderest young shoots–and live in high-altitude areas of India, China, Nepal, and other countries throughout the Himalayan region. They live in densely vegetated (and green) areas, so again, I’m not understanding the survival reason for the red and black coloration, except that I could imagine that, if the Red panda is up in a tree, it would be harder to spot because its black belly could read as part of the shade of a tree or bamboo.
As for the calico palette with green: I will go out on a limb (so to speak) and say that I’ve been seeing green coming up as a common contrast color. We saw that here on Catty Callie with the calico photo from Morocco: http://cattycallie.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/more-calico-aesthetic/ . I’ve found some other photographs and artwork with calicos in which green is prominent. I’ll post some of those in the future.
Here are a few photos of the Red panda:
- Red Panda Scared By Zookeeper, Reacts in Hilarious Fashion (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Research on red panda in Khotang (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Silicon Alley Insider: Jump As It Might, This Little Red Panda Just Can’t Seem To Reach The Door (businessinsider.com)