The red panda is a unique animal that seems to be related to the bear family but is actually a part of the raccoon animal family. Nearly half of the red panda habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas near Nepal, with an herbivore diet consisting primarily of bamboo.  

This fluffy herbivore was named red panda deriving from the red-colored coat and Nepali word ‘ponya’ meaning bamboo or plant-eating animal. The red panda shares a common diet with panda bears with the colored coat resembling a raccoon. The red panda is the only living animal deriving from the Ailuridae taxonomic family and is classified in the raccoon family due to morphological characteristics.  

When discovered in 1825, scientists classified the red panda as a member of the raccoon family, but further studies have indicated the red panda is neither a part of the bear or raccoon family. More recent studies of the red panda have indicated they are closely related to weasels, skunks, and raccoons with ancestors dating back to 5 million years ago.