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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Red Panda

This word was new to me - crepuscular - pertaining to twilight. In the case of an animal it means that it is active at twilight (dawn and dusk) as opposed to diurnal or nocturnal. The Red Panda in the photo is from the Central Park Zoo and an example of a mammal that is crepuscular. This perhaps explains not only his relaxed state in the photo, but also the reason that these fellows are difficult to spot moving around at the zoo habitat during exhibit hours. Red Panda's tend to be solitary and their habitat is the Himalayan foothills of southwestern China, Tibet, northern Myanmar, and Nepal in temperate forests at elevations of 4,900 to 13,000 feet. They are an endangered species and part of the Species Survival Plan - the Central Park Zoo has produced three cubs, a difficult feat in captivity. Their diet is almost entirely bamboo which is extremely high in indigestible fiber, making it difficult for red pandas to extract the nutrients they need. They need to eat large quantities of bamboo and spend long hours foraging. Their low energy diet does not lend itself to an active lifestyle, so they spend most of their time eating and sleeping (in tree branches or tree caves) - they may sleep half the day. I think this lifestyle would appeal to many ...

NOTE: A friend informed me that the term crepuscular has also been used to describe works of artists, such as Albert Pinkham Ryder, Arthur Dove and Winslow Homer who depicted subjects with the light characteristic at that time of day.


Anonymous said...

That is one appealing photograph. This blog has terrific pictures. I'll be back!

Olympia Daily Photo

Brian said...

zanabel - I gues I forgot to mention the obvious. These Red Pandas are awfully cute.

An Honest Man said...


Just so long as you don't get too close to the claws!

Nice photograph.