Interesting Panda Facts
The Chinese name "da xiong
mao" means "big bear cat".
Scientific Name: Ailurus Fulgens Styani
Family: Ailurinae , Ailuropodidae
Giant pandas only exist today in the wild in six small areas located
in central China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. The
habitat, suitable for the bamboo that constitutes the majority of
their diet, is a cold, damp mountainous region ranging from 4,000
to 10,000 feet elevation. They live in deciduous and coniferous forests
with a dense undergrowth of bamboo where torrential rains or thick
year-round fog are common. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming,
clear-cutting of forests, and development of land now restrict giant
pandas to the mountains.
An adult panda can weigh as much as 300 pounds and measures five to
six feet in length. Male pandas typically weigh 250 pounds while females
rarely reach 220 pounds.
A giant panda’s fur has an oily coating that
helps protect them from the cool and damp climate in which they live.
A panda’s fur is thick and coarse on the outer layer and very
dense and wooly closer to the skin. Giant pandas have black skin under
the black fur and pink skin under the white fur.
The giant panda's teeth are approximately 7 times bigger
than human teeth. They also have very powerful jaws and teeth for
crushing bamboo. They have poor eyesight, but a good sense of smell.
Giant pandas do not hibernate, and can live as long as 35 years in
A wild giant panda’s diet is almost exclusively bamboo.
Pandas eat over fifteen different kinds of bamboo. Due to their
inefficient digestive systems (up to 50% of the plant material
they eat passes out of their bodies within 10 hours undigested)
pandas must spend 12 to 16 hours a day eating. A giant panda can
consume up to 80 pounds of bamboo in a day, but they typically
eat 20 to 40 pounds per day.
Pandas also occasionally eat fish, small birds and rodents when
they can catch them. In captivity giant pandas eat bamboo, sugar
cane, rice, fruits and vegetables.
Male giant pandas have relatively small territories, ranging normally
only over a two square mile area that may overlap the territories
of several females. Female Pandas have been found to stay in very
small areas of only about 100 acres.
Panda cubs are pink and hairless or have fine white hair when they
are born, are smaller than a can of Coke, and weigh merely three to
four ounces. Giant Panda mothers are 900 times bigger than their blind
newborn cubs. Pandas sometimes bear twins, but normally only one will
Pandas are mammals, and panda mothers nurse their young for approximately
the first nine months. Cubs don’t open their eyes until they
are six to eight weeks old. They learn to walk at three months, and
start eating bamboo at five to six months. Young pandas will be fully
weaned at nine months but will stay under the protection of their
mothers until they reach two or three years of age.
Giant pandas start breeding between four and eight
years of age. Female pandas are only fertile for a few days a year,
in the spring. Calls and scents draw males and females to each other.
Females have a gestation period between 95 and 160 days. They may
continue to bear offspring until about age 20, but they produce no
more than one cub every two years.
Pandas are becoming extinct, mainly due to the destruction of their
habitat by humans. Nearly 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, while about
140 pandas currently live in captivity in zoos in China, Japan, Spain,
Germany, France, Korea, USA and Mexico. To learn more about giant
pandas and how to protect them visit World