Blank Park Zoo (DSM): Red Panda-monium, Part 1*

Red Pandas at DSM's Blank Park Zoo - 1

And now, the main event of my late-October visit to Blank Park Zoo: the red pandas!

*Note about the post title: Sorry, but I couldn’t resist. I had too much fun watching these mischievous little devils.

Red Pandas at DSM's Blank Park Zoo - 2

The zoo’s red panda habitat has two areas: a heated, inside space and an exterior yard with the animal equivalent of a playground jungle gym. They are connected by a long crawl tube, so they can travel back and forth at will.

The pandas were sleeping when I initially passed by the interior exhibit but ready to play by the time I circled back to the outdoor portion. The larger of the two raced around the yard in laps — including up, across, and down his climbing structure and through a log(!) — while the other one nibbled on grass and foliage near the entrance/exit tube, ready to escape indoors if noisy children approached their area.

Red Pandas at DSM's Blank Park Zoo - 3

Remember last summer’s news about the red panda who escaped from — and returned to — the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.?

After seeing them in action, I can see how it happened.

Most photos show red pandas in stationary, curled up positions, so I was surprised to see how long their arms and legs are in relation to the size of their bodies. Imagine a large house cat or raccoon with bobcat limbs. Perfect for going FAST and for climbing whatever trees or obstacles are in their path!

Red Pandas at DSM's Blank Park Zoo - 4

More red panda photos tomorrow! 🧡