Do Pandas Have Tails? Why Can't We See It And What Do They Use It For?

Shirin Biswas
Mar 25, 2023 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Nov 16, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Giant panda sitting on grass

We know that pandas have stubby, adorable legs and arms, but did you know that they also have tails!

Chances are that even if you visited a zoo during your trip to China, you could easily not notice that pandas have a tiny tail under all the fur! Pandas are mostly found in China and spend most of their days eating bamboo or sleeping.

However, it does seem like they have some secrets! To get you started with some panda-related facts, did you know that pandas have six fingers on each paw?

Their paws are created in a way that they can hold bamboo skillfully, and while you might think six fingers are a little excessive, these residents of China would disagree! Keep reading to know about pandas, their habits, and habitats.

If you enjoy reading this article, why not also check out if pandas are carnivores and if pandas eat meat here at Kidadl!

Panda Tail Length

Pandas are adorable and fascinating little creatures. Their features, starting from the monochromatic fur to the black eye patches have many admirers. Although, many people are found wondering whether or not pandas have tails and if they do, what are their uses.

Well, yes, pandas do have tails. However, since they are considerably small in comparison with the body length of the animal and it's hidden by the white coat of the body, the tails often go unnoticed.

While the length of the tail and its size, in general, would largely depend on the species of pandas in question, in the natural world, the tail length of most pandas is around 4-6 in (10-15 cm).

We find it quite amusing to note that the giant pandas have small tails and a small red panda has a long and fat tail. The red panda's tail would have an average length in the range of around 14.6-18.6 in (37-47.2 cm).

This panda species does not have the white and black markings that are considered a typical feature of all pandas.

Red pandas, on the other hand, are simply red or rusty brown in color. Their long tails have black-colored bands, which gives them the most regal look!

Panda Tail Color

Giant pandas are characterized by their white and black fur, and hence, it would not be a surprise that even the tail is monochromatic in appearance. If you happen to be in Central China and decide to plan a visit to a panda zoo, it might become somewhat of a hassle to find out where the animal's tail is.

On the rare occasion that you actually spot the panda's tail, you will notice that it is white in color.

A panda's tail is more visible when it is a small cub. This is because cubs do not have a large body length to tail length ratio at birth. Cubs are usually in their developmental stages and hence have bodies that are proportionate when viewed in contrast with the tail's length.

Panda Tail And Species

The most popular panda species is that of the giant panda. These fascinating creatures are not only adorable as baby pandas but are sure to leave you in awe even as adults.

Male pandas and female pandas of this species cannot be told apart except when you can compare their sizes. A male giant panda's body length is larger than that of its female counterpart.

However, the body shape remains the same. A giant panda's tail is estimated to be in the range of 4-6 in (10-15 cm). Understandably, the tail is very small in size when looked at in comparison with how tall and wide these animals are.

There are some species of pandas that have a different height, weight and tail length to giant pandas. One such animal would be the red panda.

As we know, red pandas are considerably small and have a much lesser weight when seen in comparison with giant pandas. Unlike the rest of the pandas that we hear of often, red pandas do not have thick black and white fur.

Instead, their coat is red in color, with some black bands and markings here and there. Red pandas have longer tails, which can remind you of a raccoon. Red pandas also differ greatly in terms of facial features.

Unlike the black ears that giant pandas have, red pandas have red-colored ones, with a white underside. Although these animals aren't less cute in any way, they do not fit the quintessential picture of a panda!

Function Of A Panda's Tail

Since these animals hide their tails, for the most part, people often get misled into thinking that their tails do not hold much significance. However, you will be surprised to know that their tails do have some functions in the wild.

Males and females of the giant panda species often use their tails as a part of the mating procedure. Pandas also use their tails in brushing the area where they are about to sit.

Male giant pandas use their tails as a way of marking territory. While brushing a certain area, a male giant panda leaves some of its hormones behind.

When other giant pandas smell such hormones, they either get the message that the particular land has been marked by someone else or potential mothers know that there is a male fit for breeding.

Giant Panda Characteristics

Giant pandas are adorable and look like they would be great to cuddle with on a snowy evening. While the fact that they are wild animals does deny us the right to cuddle with them or even touch them, we can always just gather information about giant pandas and quench some of our thirst.

These animals are mostly found in South Central China and are a great tourist attraction there. These bamboo-eating giant pandas are considered to be a threatened species since the population size of these bears seems to be declining.

However, the population did see somewhat of a rise recently. At the same time, it is important to know that the habitat of these bears is being degraded, which in turn deprives each animal of the species of living a healthy and happy life!

When it comes to the physical attributes of giant pandas, these animals are extremely cute and heavy. These animals are black and white in color. They have black-colored ears and black patches around their eyes.

Their arms, shoulders, and legs are covered in black fur, while the rest of the body appears white in color. Baby pandas are born fur-less and appear pink in color. They eventually grow some fur and begin to look like the father and mother pandas.

When it comes to giant panda breeding, the process of finding a mate is quite interesting. Like cats and dogs, a female giant panda enters heat during the breeding season.

On the other hand, the male giant panda leaves his hormones wherever he sits. When a female giant panda smells the hormones, she gets to know that there is a possible mate around!

After birth, the panda offspring is completely dependent on its mother. The cute baby would not start eating bamboo until much later when its strong teeth have developed. If you happen to be around the mountains of China, make sure to visit a zoo and watch a few adult pandas or a panda cub sleeping on its mother's shoulder!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do pandas have tails then why not take a look at how much bamboo a panda eats or giant panda bear facts?

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

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Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Niyati Parab

Bachelor of Commerce

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Niyati ParabBachelor of Commerce

With a background in digital marketing, Niyati brings her expertise to ensure accuracy and authenticity in every piece of content. She has previously written articles for MuseumFacts, a history web magazine, while also handling its digital marketing. In addition to her marketing skills, Niyati is fluent in six languages and has a Commerce degree from Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has also been recognized for her public speaking abilities, holding the position of Vice President of Education at the Toastmasters Club of Pune, where she won several awards and represented the club in writing and speech contests at the area level.

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