Are Red Pandas Dangerous To Humans? (Answered)

Red Pandas avoid humans generally, but if you try to pet one they can get aggresive and bit. Besides that they are not really dangerous.

How Are Red Pandas Dangerous To Humans?

The tiny cat-like Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) looks like one of the most adorable animals you could ever have as a pet. They are super fluffy-looking; beautiful red and black patterns; a giant stripy tail; have cute faces; adorable expressions and sleep all curled up in a cute ball. They also have one of the worst tempers!

Walking through a forest in Asia where they are found naturally – you may never even see one – yet be surrounded by them. Red Pandas are nocturnal and choose to sleep high in the trees all day. They don’t really move for anything. Not even noisy humans.

At night when they do come out – they are very secretive. They hate the company of others and tend to live and hunt alone through personal choice. So, unless you go climbing trees or chasing them down – they aren’t going to be dangerous to you at all.

However, find one out in the open (or at a zoo) and go try to pet them – and you had better be wearing full-length gauntlets. Although they may look cute and seem indifferent to you at first – they can change their mind in an instant if they don’t know you. Even keepers who have been working with them for years to the point of being able to hand feed them – can still get attacked by them.

And with razor-sharp teeth and impressively sharp claws (for tree climbing) – the encounter won’t go in your favor. They don’t even really like other Red Pandas!

Can You Keep Red Pandas As Pets?

Thankfully for both the pandas and all humans – you can’t keep Red Pandas as pets. They are protected by law and are IUCN Red Listed as Endangered – so no legal trade of red pandas is allowed at all – in any country.

Therefore if you see a Red Panda advertised for sale it is either not a legitimate seller (and you are about to get ripped off) – or it is an illegally traded Red Panda (and you are about to get arrested).

Even if they weren’t illegal to own – they really wouldn’t make a great pet anyway. Red pandas are super grouchy – only come out at night – like to be really high up and hidden in trees – and they hate company.
Best just keep watching cute videos of them online instead…

Do Red Pandas Carry Diseases?

As with any wild animal, Red Pandas can harbor diseases and pathogens that can make a human sick – especially if they bite or scratch you. Or if they have a heavy burden of ectoparasites like ticks and you handle them.

Being members of the extended canine family – they are prone to diseases that domestic dogs can get too. So rabies is something that infected animals can pass on to a Red Panda – and potentially on to a human. The chances of this are extremely slim for the human, but whole breeding populations in captivity have been lost in the past due to infection with raccoon rabies.

Could A Red Panda Kill A Human?

It is extremely unlikely that – even if a human traveled into the most densely populated Red Panda habitat and woke them all up – that they would be killed. Red Pandas just aren’t that way inclined.

They are very cat-like though – as their original names suggest (little cat-bear) – so they are incredibly agile and fast – and able to grab onto things – including you – with their sharp claws. They don’t retract their claws like domestic cats, but still scratch them on things, in the same way, to keep them sharp. They need them sharp to cling on to trees – so if they choose to grab onto you – it is going to hurt.

They could really injure you (most likely accidentally though) and your wounds could get infected, or make you susceptible to absorbing or picking up some bacteria. It is unlikely to be the pandas that killed you directly, but any contact with pandas or damaged skin should be checked and cleaned.

Not in the sense of a pack of wolves – but yes in the sense of ‘don’t try to give me a cuddle!’. Red Pandas avoid humans generally, but if you try to pet one…

Also, look at our other articles on Red Panda (Lesser Panda) below.