Spanish Pine Panda Picture

Spanish Pine Panda

Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ferrepinastis
Species: Ferrepinastis barbaritis

Rooted deep in the mythologies of the local people, the Spanish Pine Panda is a secretive forest dweller and a relict of a time when the Iberian Peninsula was a much less drier place. They inhabit the laurel cloud forests and coniferous temperate rainforests of the Spanish Interior and North West coast, easily distinguishable from brown bears because of their black and white colouration and the 'beard' of fur on the side of the head. They are smaller (0.9-1.2m long), more elongated, have more black on them and are better at climbing (to escape from predatory bear-dogs) than normal pandas. The diet of the Spanish Pine Panda, as its name suggests, is pine needles but will also sometimes eat moss, lichen and laurel and they spend nearly all day eating, stripping the needles off the pine branches with their teeth and rough gums. They are solitary animals, but are not aggressive towards others of their species, sometimes many gather in a forest clearing to feed on the tender new pine shoots. Pine Pandas, also do not hibernate but move to different elevations at different times of the year.

The genus Ferrepinastis, which means 'Pine bear', ancestors were the genus of primitive panda Kretzoiarctos that moved East in the Mid-Miocene when the huge inland sea that existed at that time began to shrink. However, some of that genus stayed in Europe and began to live in temperate forests but were soon outcompeted by other mammals, except in Spain because of the huge natural barrier that would save many other species, the Great Quiration Mountains (The Pyrenees in our world). Here they diversified into many forest dwelling species and prospered, until the wet forests started to dry out and most disappeared during the ice age. Therefore almost all of these European Pandas became extinct, except from one genus, that existed in the mountainous cloud and pine forests, that survived in mountain valleys with help from the moist gulf stream. Today only the Spanish Pine Panda survives in humid mountain forests...
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