Red Panda As A Calico!

Red_Panda

Red_Panda (Photo credit: anirbanbiswas_c8)

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

Red Panda (Photo credit: photoverulam)

English: Red panda wrestling

English: Red panda wrestling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ailurus fulgens, red panda.

Red panda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red Panda

Red Panda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More Calico Aesthetic

I found this beautiful image from Marrakech, Morocco, on Pinterest (from hamacle via Flickr).

While it looks like the cat may be white with black rather than calico, look at the tile to which the white cat is foreground and counterpoint. Though the salmon pink color is dominant, the calico trio of orange, black, and white is integral to the design and brings in the calico palette.

I think the photographer was drawn, probably unconsciously, to photograph this cat against the tile because the cat + tile combination creates that calico palette to which we are drawn–as I wrote about yesterday in my post “The Calico Aesthetic.” The green here is a signature color of Islam, so its presence as an accent color in the tile also makes sense. I’m not sure if the salmon pink/rose color has a particular resonance in Morocco, but I take note of how our word for that shade refers it back to the kingdom of living things–the salmon and the rose.

Just as lots of recent research has discovered that our physical sensations can influence our judgment very literally (i.e., holding a warm drink makes us feel warmer toward the person we’re with), I think our sense of reality is far more influenced by our sense of the animal than we know. That is to say, our understanding of reality is very patchwork–very calico!–and is cobbled together from our intimacy with everything animal, vegetable, and mineral.