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Giant Panda Facts

There is no doubt that we find the giant panda incredibly endearing.

Looking like a big teddy bear, their actions are cute and almost everyone around the world has fallen in love with them.

Giant Panda Facts for Kids

  • Pandas can live for up to 20 years in the wild.
  • The panda is native to China and they are very loved there
  • They typically like to be alone
  • All of their diet is bamboo
  • They sleep for 2 to 4 hours each day
  • They can get up to 1.5 meters long and weigh up to 50 kilograms
  • They eat for two-thirds of the day and then the rest of their day is spent resting.
  • A giant panda spends the winter in caves or a hollow tree when it is cold. They do not hibernate.
  • The giant panda is so loved around the world that China has shared some of its animals with zoos. This has been a great help in also expanding the population.
  • Giant pandas are very endangered. One of the reasons is that they have difficulty mating and only mate once per year. They have a low birth rate and typically only give birth to one baby.
  • Giant pandas have an extra digit on their hand. This helps to tear away at the bamboo shoot. They have a thick layer of mucus in their gut to protect their stomachs from the bamboo splinters.
  • While giant pandas typically eat over twenty different types of bamboo, it is very low in nutrition and they have to eat 20 kg every day to get the nutrition that they need. That is why it can take a giant panda up to 16 hours in their feeding process.

Why do pandas eat bamboo?

They eat bamboo because it is a food source that is available all throughout the year. They have digestive systems that are made so that they can break down meat and plants but Pandas are not good hunters so they take bamboo because it is easy to get a hold of.

They choose to eat bamboo stalk over any type of meat which isn’t always good for them because they only get around 20% of the mins and minerals that are needed from foods when they eat bamboo.

A panda that is large will need to eat around 40 pounds of bamboo each day in order to survive and to build up energy in order to make it through their day. This means that a typical panda will spend around 16 hours eating just to get enough energy to fuel their bodies.

Since it doesn’t give them a lot of energy, they are not able to last very long or to build up enough fat in order to have long periods of sleep or hibernation. The panda also cannot go for a long period of days or months without eating and therefore, they will eat bamboo and spend much time sleeping in order to conserve some of their energy.

What do pandas eat and drink?

Almost all of their diet is bamboo. They will eat around 20 different species of bamboos and they eat the root, bamboo leaves, and the shoots. They eat different bamboo based on where they live and what season it is. For example, in the spring they eat different varieties of shoots while in the fall, they will eat the leaves of the bamboo.

The roots provide most of the nutrition, even though it is still very little, and so most of their diet depends on the roots in order to survive.

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About 1% of their diet is other foods, but this mostly applies to pandas that are in captivity for example in the zoo they will sometimes eat apples and other fruits.

Some in the zoo are fed cornbread. Most of the food that is fed in the zoo is carefully chosen to make sure that they are getting the right nutrition that they need to survive. About 1% of their diet in the wild is meat.

Some hunt small rodents, fish, small birds and even insects that they find close to where they are living. They are not considered to be very quick animals, so if they hunt meat, it is not something that they are very good at.

A panda that is held in a zoo does not spend as much time eating as a wild one because they don’t have to look for their food and they have a variety other than bamboo. This means that they sleep less and eat less compared to ones that are in the wild and have to find their own food sources.

Where do pandas live?

They are native to China and they are very loved there. This is where most originated but now, they live all over the world in different zoos. There are less than 2,000 that are found in the wild and there are only around 250 pandas that live in zoos around the world.

They are found in regions that are mountainous and can be found in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi Chinese provinces between 5,000 and 10,000 feet in elevation. These wild pandas live in areas that are cool and wet and they are found in bamboo forests. These forests allow them to make homes out of stumps of trees or logs. These dens are made inside of the forests.

It is important that they live close to the bamboo forests because bamboo is the biggest part of their daily intake of food.

How long do pandas sleep?

They sleep for 2 to 4 hours each day and they sleep by laying on their backs, sides or stomachs. They love to stretch and to roll in a ball when they are sleeping. They can sleep almost anywhere because they don’t really have many natural predators to worry about. They can also take a small nap in between their feedings.

Some sleep on the forest ground while others sleep in trees. Since they can climb very well, they will often times climb up a tree when they are sleeping.

The ones that live in the zoo will usually be put on the same schedule that a wild panda would be on. The zoo does this so that it can copy their natural instincts and their body rhythms of activity and rest that they need.

How long do pandas live?

Most that live in the wild will live between 15-20 years. They are considered to be teenagers until they are five years of age and then between 5-18 years of age they are called youth pandas.

Most that live in the zoo usually live longer. They can live up to 30 years of age, and the oldest lived to be 38 years old. The ones that live in the zoo usually live longer because they don’t have to face the threats such as weather and other environmental problems.

Why are giant pandas endangered?

The ones that live in the wild will sometimes lose their habitat and when this happens, they die because they don’t have enough food to eat. Since they mostly eat bamboo to live, when their forests are taken down, they are not able to survive.

They only only give birth every two years.

They have a hard time breeding because they are very choosy about their mates and because the females are only in heat for up to 25 days and only fertile up to 36 hours. This has caused them to become endangered.

They also have to face the chance of being hunted. Many have been killed by poachers in the wild. They only live in the wild in bamboo forests in China and in the past, they lived in other places such as Vietnam and Burma.

It is estimated that there are only around 1,900 that live in the wild today.

Natural Habitat loss can cause them to lose their home and to face starvation. Much of the habitat loss happens due to deforestation. This is when the forest is cleared away.

Since they rely so much on bamboo, when their bamboo forests are destroyed or cut down, they lack the food and often have a hard time relocating.

Other animals have spent their whole lives adapting but this is not true for the panda.

Even though their body is set up to be able to eat meat, they are not a very good hunter and will spend their day eating around 40 pounds of bamboo just to survive.

Are pandas dangerous?

They can be a dangerous animal because they are carnivores, even though they spend much of their time only eating bamboo.

They have a large bone features and they are very strong and have a very powerful bite. This bite is useful because it allows them to eat through the root of the bamboo so that they can survive.

Another thing is they can climb fast and can swim well if they need to and they can be very aggressive if they feel threatened.

They can get up to 1.5 meters long and weigh up to 50 kilograms and they have extremely strong jaw muscles and long, sharp teeth. This allows them to bite through most things.

Even the ones in the zoo can be aggressive if they feel threatened and they can bite and cause a deadly situation.

Why are pandas so playful?

Pandas spend the majority of their day eating. Since the bamboo is close to them, they don’t have to go on long hunts or spend long periods of the day hunting or looking for food.

They are considered one of the most vocal bears that live and they make voice sounds such as barking and squealing when they are being fun and playful.

Most love to be curious and to explore their area, as long as it is close to their bamboo forest, where they live. They also like to be playful and restful because they don’t spend a lot of time going far or moving much.

Pandas that are in the zoo are sometimes given toys to play with. They seem to love puzzles and other mind engaging activities. Some love to do tricks such as somersaults.

Are pandas smart?

They are considered to be very smart. Some have been known to break out of places when they are held in zoos or other places. They love to explore their area and know how to work together with other pandas if there is a problem.

Some scientists talk about how they use their senses to know when they are being tricked or trapped. They figure out how to solve problems such as climbing over things or reaching lower in order to get to their food.

Some appear in the circus and ride bikes or play ball games. One panda could even take herself to the bathroom and use the toilet when needed. This proves that they are very smart and can be trained.

Why are pandas so clumsy?

Pandas are so clumsy because they eat so much bamboo. Since their diet is basically bamboo, they have very low nutrition and vitamins. This diet causes them to have a slow metabolic rate.

Since bamboo doesn’t give them much energy, many of the pandas have low thyroid levels. These different levels cause them to be slower and to seem to be clumsy. Sometimes they sleep for hours between feeding and sometimes will take extra naps.

The way that they move their bodies can often times make them look like they are rolling around or being clumsy and they are very docile in their sleeping positions.

How long do pandas live in captivity?

There are around 250-300 pandas that live in zoos around the world.

There have only been two successful reintroductions into the wild after being held in the zoo for some many years.

The problem with reintroducing them into the wild is that they have a hard time of being accepted by other pandas because they like to live alone and do not want to give up their area.

Many that are introduced into the wild are beaten up and attacked by other pandas and releasing them strictly into the wild means that they might have a hard time finding food and being able to sustain themselves.

Some zoologists and conservation areas will make giant panda conservation habitats for them and sometimes they are released to these so that they can have enough food to sustain them.

What do pandas do for fun?

They are considered to be very playful animals. They are also very curious and they like to look around the areas that they live in.

Pandas that live in the zoo are often given toys such as puzzles that they can figure out and play with. This helps to keep them entertained and to give them something to do so that they don’t get bored. They also like to be active and like to show off so sometimes if you watch them at the zoo, you will see them doing somersaults or other fun tricks.

What are pandas’ predators?

They don’t not have a lot of predators that they have to face in the wild. Most of the predators include snow leopards, yellow-throated martens and jackals. The reason that the snow leopard is one of the biggest predators is because the panda and the snow leopard often share many of the same habitats so these predators can be dangerous for the panda bear cubs.

Since they are considered fairly peaceful, they try to not have confrontation with other animals but when they do have to fight back, they use their teeth and jaws to bite their predators. They can also climb and swim very quickly and since they are not hibernating animals, they are always there and ready to protect their area if they have to.

What is pandas habitat?

Most that live in the wild are found in China in the regions of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu. They usually are found in elevated areas between 5,000 to 10,000 feet in elevation. They live in the bamboo forest that is cool and wet. This allows them to be close to their food source since 99% of their diet is bamboo.

There are only around 20 different bamboo forests in China and most of the wild pandas live in Qinling and Minshan mountains. There are also many conservation areas that are supported by the Chinese to help keep them from going completely extinct.

Living in the mountains and in the bamboo forest provides them with good weather that is warm and cool and is rich in plenty of bamboo and water sources. This allows them to thrive in the wild and provides protection from the predators.

There are close to 300 different pandas found in zoos across the world.

Why are pandas hard to breed?

They are hard to breed because it is hard for the them to find a mate. Since the average panda gives birth only once every two years, it makes them endangered species and that means that they have a hard time finding a mate to breed with.

In order for a male panda to breed with a female panda, he must find a mate and compete against others that are also looking for mates.

When the dominate male finds a female, he will mate with her many different times to ensure that she gets pregnant and this normally works.

In a zoo, breeding can be even harder for the panda.

Sometimes, when a panda is held in captivity, they either lose interest in mating or they are not sure how to mate.

Some scientists feel that this happens because a baby panda can be taken from their mothers too quickly and therefore they have never seen others mate.

Some speculate that the ones in the zoo might not have interest in mating with a female panda because there is no challenge or competition form another’s to mate with.

Another problem is that a female only goes into heat one time a year and it lasts only up to 25 days, but sometimes much shorter. She only will mate with a male for 2-7 days while she is in heat and she is only fertile up to 36 hours once she is in heat.

When a male does not mate with the female in these allotted times, the female becomes uninterested and she will not mate and the male will have to wait for a whole year until she is in heat again.

A Panda cub is super fun to see and hopefully we’ll see more in the future

Why are Pandas black and white?

The giant panda has black and white fur and this fur is important for them because they need to be protected when they are in the wild. The black and white fur is used as a camouflage and these colorings make them seem to disappear when they are in a thick patch of bamboo. This gives them protection from their predators.

The white part of the panda helps them to hide when the weather is snowy. The dark part (arms and legs) help them to hide in shadows so that they are not seen by their prey.

The dark circles under their eyes and their black ears are thought to help them to recognize other pandas and can be used as a sign of aggression when they are facing their predators.

Some scientists believe they have such low coloration due to their diet of bamboo and the fact that bamboo does not provide them with very much nutrition.