In the wild, red pandas use hollow trees, evergreens, or rock crevices as nest sites, but in captivity, they adopt nest boxes, hollow logs, or other artificial dens.
Several days before parturition, a pregnant female begins to carry nest materials, such as sticks, grasses, and leaves into suitable nest sites. In the wild, red pandas may use hollow trees, evergreens, or rock crevices as nest sites, but in captivity, females readily adopt nest boxes placed on the ground, hollow logs, or other artificial dens. Nest building may continue after the young are born, but the behavior is highly variable among females.
Mothers move their young frequently, presumably in response to nest disturbance; all active nest sites are kept clean by the mother.
Young are nest-bound for approximately 90 days, after which, they make their first excursions from the nest at night. At first, mothers attempt to restrain cubs from emerging, but cubs soon become too active to monitor closely. Initial excursions from the nest coincide with the first evidence of the young eating solid food. By 120 days of age, young consistently rest away from the nest area with their mother.
• Image | © Mathias Appel, Public Domain, (CC0 1.0)
• Sources | (Hodgson, 1847; Pocock, 1941; Roberts, 1975, 1980, 1981; Roberts & Gittleman, 1984)