Pandas

Panda Facts For Kids

Read our awesome facts about the beautiful panda and download or print our quiz sheet in the activity section at the end to test your knowledge afterwards!

Along with being super cute looking, pandas are really interesting animals. Sit back and find out why the panda bear is such an amazing animal.

The History of the Panda Bear

  • Pandas have lived on earth for two to three million years. Who would have thought that! They’ve certainly been around for a long time.

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  • Did you know that for ages scientists didn’t know whether pandas were bears or more closely related to raccoons? That would be a massive type of raccoon! Well now they know of course as it’s called a Panda Bear and not a Panda Raccoon. But, that’s just the giant panda; they believe that the red panda is indeed from the family of raccoons. Wow.

panda

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  • Pandas are a symbol of peace in China. Hundreds of years ago, when tribes where fighting, they would raise a flag with a picture of a panda on it to stop a battle or call a truce. How awesome is that?

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  • Pandas were once hunted by the Chinese as they thought their fur gave them magical protection over evil spirits. But this isn’t allowed anymore thank goodness.

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  • According to legend, the panda was once an all-white bear, but when a small girl tried to save a panda cub from being attacked by a leopard, the leopard killed the girl instead. Pandas came to her funeral wearing armbands of black ashes. As they wiped their eyes, hugged each other, and covered the ears, they smudged the black ashes to give them their black and white appearance they have today. What a great story.

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  • There are only 1,000 pandas left in the wild; that’s frightening and they are endangered.

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  • The main reason that they’re endangered is that areas are being cleared for crops and also the natural die-back of the bamboo they eat. They unfortunately don’t migrate to other areas because they are kind of cornered in by human settlements, so they will often starve to death. That’s very sad.

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  • But there’s some good news…cool. People are doing loads of great things to save these magnificent animals with special sanctuaries where they can eat and live in peace.

red panda

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  • The word ‘panda’ might have come from the Nepalese word ‘poonya’, which means ‘bamboo-eating animal’ or ‘plant-eating animal.’ Sounds fairly accurate.

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  • Did you know that Richard Nixon received two giant pandas as gifts from China after he’d visited in 1972? What do you do with two pandas? The two pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were put in the National Zoo in Washington D.C. Guess you can’t really keep them in your backyard!

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  • In China, giant pandas are considered to be national treasures.

Where Pandas Live

Here we take at where Pandas live and surprisingly you can only find them in one place in the world.

  • Pandas are only found in China, in the wild. Of course you could see some in a zoo, but China is really the special place they call home.

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  • They live in remote mountainous areas in Central China in forests, of course where there’s lots of bamboo.

More about Pandas

Here’s a little biology lesson on Pandas so you can be panda smart!

  • Pandas are only about the size of a stick of butter at birth, and they’re hairless and can’t do anything for themselves. The mother normally cradles the tiny cub in one paw and holds it close to her chest! How cute is that? The mother won’t leave the den at all for a couple of days, not even for food or water!

cartoon panda

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  • A panda stays in its Mom’s tummy for 5 months and it’s born in a nest of bamboo. They weigh only 5 ounces (140 grams) at birth and will only crawl when they’re about 3 months old. Cute.

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  • They are born white and only get their color much later.

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  • When babies are 7 months old they can climb trees.

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  • Baby pandas are clumsy! They often trip, fall and roll over while exploring their surroundings. Just like normal babies!

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  • It stays with its mother for about 18 months, until it can make its own territory.

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  • It takes about five years for a female cub to become an adult and up to seven years for a male cub. Don’t think we’d be ready to be adults at the ages of 5 and 7.

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  • A panda mother is 900 times bigger than her new-born cub. Wow that’s a lot.

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  • Guess what pandas eat? Well they eat Bamboo, but it’s not got very much nutrition in it, so unbelievably they have to eat up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms) a day which can take them 16 hours to munch their way through that! Wow. That’s most of the day! Imagine if we had to eat continuously for 16 hours a day, we’d be very full indeed. They grasp the stalks with 5 fingers and a special wrist bone, that’s like an extra finger, and then use their teeth to peel off the tough layers to get to the nice soft, juicy bits underneath.

pandas munching

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  • They grow up to be about 5 feet long (1.5 meters), which is about the same as young adult, so they’re not terribly tall.

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  • They weigh around 300 pounds (136 kilograms). That’s pretty heavy. The average 10 year old weight 100 pounds (45 kilograms), so that could be three of you together! That’s a lot when you consider that they’re roughly the same height.

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  • Pandas can live for up to 20 years in the wild.

Amazing Facts about Panda Bears

These facts will amaze you about these friendly looking bears that sit and munch away at bamboo. Enjoy!

  • Pandas are very well known for their black and white coat and black eye patches, but did you know that they are one of the shyest and rarest animals in the world? They’ve got to be saved! What would the world be like without pandas?

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  • So we know they’re pretty shy, but this is cool; they can bleat, roar, growl and honk! Or they sneeze in a hilarious way. Do you think they honk at passers-by?

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  • Pandas have an extra digit on their hand which obviously helps them to tear the bamboo, but this is seriously cool, their stomach is covered with a thick layer of mucus so they don’t get any splinters. Awesome.

red panda in zoo

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  • The giant panda has the largest molar teeth of any carnivore; surprising when you think they’re an omnivore. They’ve got an extra molar on their bottom jaw and all their molars are made especially for them to munch their way through all that bamboo. They can actually crush bamboo stems up to 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) in diameter.

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  • They are quite serious about getting to their bamboo, as they will climb as high as 13,100 feet (4,000 meters) to feed on higher slopes of the mountains that they live on! That is just under half the height of Mount Everest…unbelievable.

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  • Who would think that these awesome bears can swim, and really well too. They’re also very good climbers as their paws are wide with furry undersides and they have long claws that help them keep their grip.

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  • Have you ever heard of the saying ‘Wherever you lay your hat, that’s your home’? Well pandas seem to live by this. They don’t actually have a place to rest, they will literally just lie down where they are, and close their peepers.

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  • These bears actually don’t hibernate, but if its super-duper cold they’ll take shelter in a cave or hollow tree.

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  • A panda marks its territory with its stumpy tail and uses it like a brush to let everyone know that this is their place, and no one else dare enter! They’ve got scent glands underneath their tails.

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  • Pandas also have very good smell. Males use this smell to stay away from other males and also to find females.

panda umbrella

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  • Pandas can stand upright, but their short hind legs can’t support their bodies. Amazingly a panda’s bones are twice as heavy as the bones of other animals that are the same size as them.

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  • A panda fur is worth between $60,000 and $100,000 on the illegal trade market. That’s awful, no wonder they were hunted. Luckily there are special programs in place now to protect these amazing animals.

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  • When you look at a panda, you probably think nice soft fur. Well it’s not at all; in fact it is thick and wiry. Don’t think we’ll be stroking them.

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  • Nobody really knows why pandas have the markings they do. Some believe that the colors are used for camouflage while others believe the black and white markings help the panda keep a steady temperature, or that the colors help the giant panda avoid other pandas. There’s even a theory that the panda’s large black eye spots make their eyes look bigger, and then their stare looks more aggressive. Who knows?

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  • Did you know that a panda is the most expensive animal to keep in a zoo? It costs five times as much as keeping an elephant.

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  • We know these gorgeous animals like their bamboo, but they’re super-fast when it comes to eating them; they can peel and eat a bamboo shoot in about 40 seconds. That’s fast.

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  • Pandas are lone animals and it would be very rare to see more than one panda at a time in the wild.

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  • Have you heard of the World Wildlife Fund? Well if you take a look at their logo, the panda has been on that logo since 1961 when they were founded. Amazing.

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  • How cool is this. Under a panda’s fur, the skin is black where the fur is black and pink where the fur is white.

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  • Sometimes pandas have been seen rolling down slopes. Are they playing or are they trying to get rid of twigs in their fur? Who knows what they’re up to, but it must be cute to see.

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  • Remember the movie ‘Kung Fu Panda’ well it features a giant panda called ‘Po’.

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  • Pandas don’t really feel the cold as their coat is very thick.

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  • The giant panda has the second longest tail after the sloth bear. It measures about 6 inches (15 centimeters).

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  • Pandas have very good manners and they sit up nice and straight while they eat! Remember to sit up straight while you’re eating.

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  • The Chinese word for Panda is ‘Da Xiong Mao’ meaning ‘Giant Bear Cat’.

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  • A male Panda is called a boar and a female is called a sow.

What cool and interesting animals these are! We hope you enjoyed our awesome fun facts. Do you have any other facts to add?

Activity Time – Quiz

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Click to download or print our panda facts quiz sheet to use in class or at home! Questions about Pandas (all answers can be found on this page).