The giant panda has been on Earth for at least 8 million years and is considered a living fossil and the Chinese national treasure. It is an ambassador of WWF and a flagship species for biodiversity conservation in the world. Let’s check the following faqs to get the relevant knowledge about pandas!
1. What do pandas look like? Is a panda bear a real bear?
The giant panda has a round face and chubby body, with stout limbs and a short bald tail. It wears a black and white coat. Its head and body are creamy white, while the limbs and shoulders are black.
The panda looks naive and tame, but in fact it is a kind of bears, belonging to the Ursidae. It has sharp claws, with the size of an American black bear. So, it is also called panda bear.
2. What do pandas eat? Does panda only eat bamboo?
Giant pandas are omnivores, but their main food is bamboo, including bamboo leaves, bamboo shoots, and young bamboo. Because of the low calorie of bamboo, pandas spend a lot of time eating each day. An giant panda eats 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 lb) of bamboos per day.
Besides, they also eat better tasting fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, and other foods as supplementary food. Wild pandas also eat some weeds and other plants.
3. Where do pandas live? Do pandas live in the jungle?
The giant panda is native to south central China, mainly found in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. These adorable animals live in dense bamboo forests at altitudes of 2,600 to 3,500 meters, where the air is thin and cloudy all year round and the temperature is below 20℃.
4. How long do pandas live?
A giant panda in the wild has a lifespan of 14-20 years, while pandas in captivity will live longer to exceed 30 years. A panda of 25 years old is equal to 100 years of human age.
5. What do pandas do most of their time?
Giant pandas spend most of their time eating and sleeping. In the wild, pandas spend about 10 to 16 hours a day looking for food and eating. They will sleep for 2-4 hours between two meals. In zoos, the keepers feed them regularly twice a day, so the rest of the time the pandas spend resting.
Giant pandas are good at climbing trees and also love to swim. They climb tress as a way to avoid the strong or escape dangers, or when they approach courtship.
6. Why are pandas so lazy?
Giant pandas are often seen walking or moving very slowly with their plump body. This is because they need to save energy as their bamboo diet provide extremely low nutrients. Also, pandas live in an environment where this is plenty of food and no predators. So there is no need to move quickly.
7. When do giant pandas give birth?
Female giant pandas in captivity reach sexual maturity at about 4 years old and males at 6. While it will be about slightly later for wild pandas. Female pandas go into estrus once a year, only for about 2-3 days, usually in March-May.
Baby pandas are usually born around August, since the gestation will last 83-200 days. Childcare for a mother panda is a daunting task, usually lasting 18 months, somethings up to two years, until the birth of her next child.
The newborn bay panda is surprisingly small and are quite immature at birth. For an adult giant panda weighing more than 100 kilograms, a newborn cub will weigh only 0.1 to 0.15 kilograms, so it is not easy to survive.
8. What do baby pandas look like?
The panda cub has pink skin, with sparse white hair, just like a small mouse. After 1-2 weeks, they begin to grow black hairs. Within a month, they slowly develop black wars, eye sockets, legs and shoulder straps, becoming more like their mother. When the pups are 6-8 weeks old, they can open their eyes and begin teething; after three months they can slowly crawl around.
9. Why pandas are endangered?
In fact, giant pandas have few natural enemies in the wild. An adult panda is very strong to defeat most predators. Only panda cubs may face treats from snow leopards or other animals.
The main reason of endangered pandas are ecological destruction and habitat loss by human activities. Besides, pandas only have a few offspring in their lifetime. The survival rate of baby pandas is quite low. And pandas are pandas are more dependent on their habitat and less able to adapt to environmental changes.
10. What can I do to help protect the panda?
If you want to help protect the beloved giant pandas, you can do it mainly in three ways. First, you can donate to a conversation organization, like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Usually you can donate any amount of money as you want. Your donation fund will be used for the research and conversation work of giant pandas.
Secondly, you can adopt a panda. The meaning of “adopting a panda” is not like that you can bring it home. It is symbolical, since the panda will still stay in the center or zoo in China. But you will have the right to name your panda, and will get an adoption certificate, panda souvenirs and gifts etc.
Thirdly, you can volunteer at one of the panda reserves in China. If you are planning a trip to China and want to visit pandas, then a volunteer work will be good option. It will be a rare experience to see and protect these cute animals.