12 Fascinating Giant Panda Facts For Kids (2023 Updated)
The giant panda, often known as the panda bear, is a bear-like creature that lives in bamboo forests in the central Chinese Himalayas. Its intriguing appearance has won fans worldwide thanks to its stunning black and white coat, hefty physique, and round face. To distinguish it from the red panda, a fellow musteloid neighbor, the term “giant panda” is occasionally used. Although the giant panda is a member of the Carnivora order, more than 99% of its diet consists of bamboo shoots and leaves. A few mountain ranges in central China, primarily in Sichuan and the neighboring provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu, are home to the giant panda. The giant panda has been driven out of places it once lived due to farming, deforestation, and other forms of development.
Let’s read some interesting facts about the adorable giant panda.
12 facts about the giant panda!
Giant pandas can’t live without bamboo.
The leaves, buds, and stems of bamboo, a giant grass present all year in many of China’s wooded regions, make up as much as 90–98% of a panda’s diet. The forepaws, jaws, and teeth of giant pandas have been modified so that they can consume bamboo. However, because it still has a carnivore digestive system, it cannot digest cellulose, which is a critical component of bamboo. Pandas quickly overcome this issue by regularly passing enormous amounts of grass through their systems. Up to 16 out of 24 hours are devoted to feeding, while waste elimination can happen up to 50 times each day. According to fossilized teeth, the giant panda committed to using bamboo as its primary food source at least three million years ago.
Giant Pandas prefer to be left alone.
Because it relies heavily on its sense of smell, the giant panda’s solitary character is highlighted. Each species limits its activities within a 1.5–2.3 mile radius of its habitat, yet these areas frequently overlap significantly. The shy giant pandas prefer to live by themselves. Giant pandas can detect the scent of other giant pandas nearby and steer clear of them thanks to their keener sense of smell. The sole exception is when males utilize their sense of smell to find females during the breeding season (March to May). When they hear a vocalization, they may occasionally turn to observe what their brethren are doing.
Giant panda’s scent marks their surroundings.
Under their short tails, pandas’ smell glands release a waxy material utilized to leave scent trails. The marking individual’s fragrance communicates information about identification, sex, and possibly social standing as the gland is rubbed against trees, rocks, and patches of grass. It is consistent with a difference in function for boys and females based on chemical analysis of markings. While females primarily use fragrance to indicate estrus, males appear to use it to identify the locations where they inhabit.
Due to their elusiveness, there have been few studies on the scent communication of wild giant pandas. According to research, pandas chose huge coniferous trees from the available options for scent marking. Trees with preferred species, high elevation, topographical features that facilitate odor transmission, more giant surrounding trees, and gentle slopes were marked by scent more frequently than other trees.
Giant pandas have cat-like eyes.
One characteristic of panda bears that gives them the nickname “Cat-foot” is that their eyes have slits similar to cat eyes. They don’t have circular pupils as other bears do; instead, they have slits. They can see well at night thanks to this adaptation. They gain from this since they constantly search for food, even at night. Like many nocturnal species, the panda’s eyes feature pupils with vertical slits and superb night vision. They are believed to have restricted color vision and are nearsighted.
Giant pandas mate during the spring season.
Both wild and captive populations of giant pandas exhibit a spring mating season (March-May) and a fall birth season (August–September). In some groups, there are between one and five males for every female. Males use scent to find females first, followed by speech patterns. Typically, males and females only interact for a few days, approximately 2-4. This is when males may display extreme aggression as they compete for mates.
A female giant panda can only conceive a cub once a year, even if the breeding season lasts for several months. During the breeding season in the wild, male giant pandas may mate with several females. Gestation lasts from 95 and 160 days. Typically, pandas only have one offspring at each birth. When artificial insemination is practiced in captivity, twins appear to be born more frequently.
Giant panda offsprings are very dependent on their mothers.
Newborn pandas have a slow development rate during the early months. The offspring has a thin, all-white coat and is born blind. Due to its limited ability to suckle and vocalize, it is essentially helpless. It relies on its mother for warmth, nutrition, placement at the breast, and facilitating the passage of waste. A baby’s eyes open around 45 days after birth, and the first clumsy steps are taken at 75–80 days. Due to their helplessness, female giant pandas must give birth in a den, where they spend their first 100–120 days of life. The baby can quickly eat bamboo when they are 14 months old, when their milk teeth have come in, and they are weaned from their mothers between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
Giant pandas weigh more than 100 kg.
Giant pandas can grow to be between 4 and 6 feet long and between 2 and 3 feet tall at the shoulder (on all four legs), making them about the size of an American black bear. In the wild, males can weigh up to 100 kg, making them larger than females. With a 10-15 centimeter tail, adult pandas measure roughly 150 cm from nose to rump. Additionally, they have a maximum shoulder height of 90 cm.
Giant pandas have six fingers.
The additional “thumb” of the giant panda, a member of the order Carnivora, is undoubtedly the most famous but mysterious of the many quirks that allow it to adapt to life as a devoted bamboo feeder. Giant pandas have an unusual sixth finger, a kind of thumb, that enables them to quickly grasp bamboo stalks and peel the leaves, allowing them to thrive primarily on low-nutrient bamboo. According to earlier studies, this thumb-like feature existed between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. A sparse fossil record of gigantic pandas revealed that little was known about how the bears acquired this puzzling trait, which has long perplexed scientists.
Giant pandas play a crucial role in our ecosystem.
The giant panda’s habitat is unlike any other in the temperate world. It surpasses tropical ecosystems in terms of biological diversity, making it a prime example of an umbrella species that protect many other species in its range. Their fur accumulates seeds and other plant material as they wander across their habitat. They also swim and climb trees, which aids in spreading the seeds even further. To put it another way, whenever we conserve giant pandas, we inevitably safeguard the nearby species of the golden monkey, takin, and crested ibis. Through ecotourism, giant pandas also benefit numerous local communities in a long-term economic way.
The giant panda is the national animal of China.
The giant panda, indigenous to south-central China, is the country’s national animal. The giant panda is a representation of peace and friendship in Chinese culture. It has also been connected to the Chinese symbolism of yin and yang, masculine and female, because of its black and white patches. Although they have a friendly demeanor and a delicate appearance, pandas are also revered in China as solid creatures representing warriors. They stand for harmony, individual boundaries, perseverance, wisdom, nurturing and caring, peace, and tenderness. These creatures can help us understand what it means to value life’s modest pleasures.
Giant pandas are under the “vulnerable” category of animals.
The giant panda was widely dispersed over eastern Asia between 2.6 million and 11,700 years ago, according to fossils found in northern Myanmar, Vietnam, and much of China, including Beijing. The species is now only found in isolated mountain habitat fragments along the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau due to poaching and human-caused degradation of its forest habitat. These habitats cover around 5,000 miles, and recent mass bamboo flowering and die-offs have caused some populations to starve.
China significantly increased its conservation efforts during the 1990s and now views the panda as a national treasure. The number of locations in the reserve system has risen from 14 to over 40. The IUCN had previously classified the panda as an endangered species, but due to China’s progress in regenerating bamboo forest habitat, the IUCN altered the panda’s classification to “vulnerable” in 2016.
Giant pandas do not hibernate.
Animals can preserve energy by hibernating, a protracted state of deep sleep that enables them to survive the winter without food. Pandas don’t hibernate, unlike the majority of bear species. Since the animal’s body temperature drops and its breathing and heartbeat become more leisurely during hibernation, less energy is used. Giant pandas do not hibernate and continue to nibble on bamboo as they move lower down into their mountain homes throughout the winter to warmer climates.
Giant pandas are the most beloved animal worldwide and have grown to become the symbol of endangered species, love, and peace, and most of all, they are known for how adorable they are. We hope you have fun reading these facts about giant pandas.