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can red pandas be pets

Can Red Pandas Be Pets?

The red panda is a unique, beautiful and captivating animal, both in looks and behavior. For this reason it’s no surprise why some people may be tempted to keep them as a pet. The question is, however, can they be kept as pets safely and legally?

Legality of Keeping a Red Pandas as Pets

In most locations it is illegal to keep a red panda as a pet since they are:

  • Endangered species – red pandas are protected under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which makes it a criminal offense to keep or trade them without a special permit.
  • Wild animals – red pandas are wild animals that generally display “fear aggression” when in contact with people, making it difficult to interact with them and care for them as a pet.

Behavioral Requirements for Keeping Red Pandas as Pets

In addition to the legal implications, keeping a red panda comes with a range of behavioral requirements. These include:

  • Diet – red pandas are mainly herbivorous animals, relying mostly on bamboo shoots and a variety of fruits. They can acquire their nutritional deficits from a varied diet consisting of meat, eggs and other items.
  • Habitat – red pandas need a large area to live, with plenty of trees for climbing and foraging. They are solitary animals and should never be kept with other red pandas.


Given the legal and behavioral requirements involved in keeping a red panda as a pet, it is not recommended. If you’re looking for a pet to keep, consider adopting a pet that is legal to keep in your area and well-suited to live with you, such as a cat or a dog.

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