63 Panda Facts: Things To Know About The Cute Little Animals

Sridevi Tolety
Jun 07, 2024 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Mar 23, 2022
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
info_i
63 Panda Facts: Things To Know About The Cute Little Animals

Pandas are from the bear family and are endemic to the country of China.

Pandas are characterized by their distinctive color pattern of black and white. 99% of the diet of giant pandas is bamboo and leaves.

In the wild, pandas may eat different types of grass, the meat of birds, and even rodents. In captivity, especially in zoos, they may be given honey, eggs, and fruits.

They are capable of eating 25-40 lb (11-18 kg) of bamboo in a day. They eat for almost 14 hours a day. Their paw design helps them to pick up bamboo leaves easily and they chew them either in a sitting position or they enjoy eating the leaves by lying on their back.

Taxonomy And Evolution

Despite dragons being the national symbol of China, pandas often represent the country.

For years, much confusion existed on the taxonomic classification under which pandas should be categorized, with raccoons and bears being the options.

Through molecular studies, the taxonomic classification of pandas was decided, leaving the pandas to be classified as true bears, part of the Ursidae family.

Often, giant pandas are regarded as living fossils.

The scientific name of the panda is Ailuropoda melanoleuca.

The giant pandas were previously considered to be in the Procynoidae family, which included raccoons.

Some researchers have suggested that there may be two subspecies of the panda, which have not been accepted widely.

Pandas are included in the Canformes clades, which also include dogs and skunks.

Research findings suggest that pandas adapted to eating bamboo as their main diet.

The most recently discovered panda fossil was in a cave deposit in Southeast Asia.

The panda fossil in Southeast Asia was larger than the Giant pandas of the current world.

The giant pandas are the last surviving members of its genus.

Modern pandas, as per research, have lost their ability to taste the protein.

Panda remains were found inside a tomb dated to be 4,000 years old.

A panda skull was found inside the tomb of Empress Dowager Bo.

The Emperor during the Han Dynasty had a habit of keeping rare animals, including giant pandas, in his garden.

Giant pandas have a broader back skull for chewing.

Though giant pandas have lesser natural predators, their cubs are especially vulnerable.

Relationship With Humans

As you may have witnessed in numerous videos, these animals are simply too cute not to cuddle. But are they safe to hold and hug? Let's see what relationship the panda has with humans through some panda facts.

Panda urine used to be considered effective in melting accidentally swallowed needles.

Gifting pandas to both American and Japanese zoos was an important aspect of the diplomacy of China in the '70s.

Pandas are solitary animals and do not have lasting relationships with each other.

These cuddly beings spend time with those of their type, mainly during mating season.

It is said that, though pandas may form bonds with humans, it is usually temporary.

The bond pandas have with their zookeeper is associated with the food they are brought by the keeper.

Though pandas are docile beings, they, like most of us, tend to attack humans when irritated.

Wolong Nature Reserve provides a home to 10% of giant pandas and resources for about 5,000 people in the forest.

An unusual anatomic feature of a panda is an enlarged wrist that serves functions similar to that done by a thumb.

Pandas are popular for their gentle nature and big round eyes.

It is one of the most Endangered species due to human intervention.

Hunters kill these cuddly bears for their fur and parts.

Caretakers at enclosures tend to get close to panda cubs.

Though they are solitary creatures, in enclosures, they tend to play with each other and share toys.

Common names in Chinese for these cute teddies are Baixiong which means white bear, Zhuxiong, translating to bamboo bear, and Daxiong mao, translating to large bear-cat.

Ecology

Being solitary beings, pandas restrict themselves and their activities to a range spanning 1.5-2.3 sq mi (4-6 sq km). Pandas have distinctive features and specialties that may not be known to many. Let's look into some peculiar panda facts.

Pandas have a scent gland under their tail and around the anus to leave scent messages to other pandas.

Male pandas use scents to identify their living area.

Female pandas use scent to signal estrus.

Male pandas use scent and vocalizations to locate female pandas.

The newborn cub of female pandas is tiny when compared to the size of the adult panda.

Giant pandas now live, mostly in mountain areas in Chinese provinces.

The majority of the giant pandas reside in the Sichuan province of China. They are wild pandas.

The cuddly panda species have lived in bamboo forests for many millions of years.

These cute panda bears can climb trees and use hollow trees or rocks as shelter.

One of the more fascinating panda facts is that the panda, to date, has the digestive system of a carnivore.

A baby panda would require bacteria from its mother's feces in order to digest vegetation.

One of the funnier panda facts is that they defecate about 40 times per day.

In the natural world, only a few bamboo types exist in the altitudes that the panda now considers its habitat.

A baby panda is approximately the size of a stick of butter.

Panda cubs must consume approximately 26-84 lb (12-38 kg) of food per day.

Pandas have often been gifted and lent to zoos in different countries. The panda species are considered to be a treasure.

Threats And Health

Though everyone loves pandas, it is hard to deny that the species is struggling to survive. The panda is a well-loved creature that is currently facing extinction. The panda used to be considered to be an Endangered species. Now the panda has received the status of Vulnerable due to the efforts by China in restoring bamboo forests.

The first panda reserve was constructed in Southern China in the year 1963.

In the '80s, Pandas were categorized as Endangered.

Today, there are 40 giant panda reserves in the country of China.

The earthquake that happened in China in the year 2008 not only killed a few pandas and many humans but also devastated the bamboo resources. The repercussions of which the world of bamboos would see for many years. The earthquake has increased the challenges for the pandas.

The giant pandas have been subjected to poaching by both local people as well as foreigners since the introduction of the panda species to the west.

Wolong National Natural Reserve in China is one of the nature reserves of the world that was set up with the aim of saving the decrease in the population of the beloved panda.

Artificial insemination of giant pandas and many other ways have been adopted, or male giant pandas are shipped from another National zoo for breeding to maintain and potentially increase panda numbers.

The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, which is situated in the Sichuan province, was selected to be on the World Heritage List in the year 2006, which is a milestone for panda reserves.

In 2015, it was found that the giant pandas can act as umbrella species due to the preservation of panda habitat, helping other endemic species in the country of China. So, pandas are heroes of their own sorts.

As many as 70 natural reserves teamed up and combined to become the Giant Panda National Park in the year 2020.

In the year 2020, the panda population of the Giant Panda National Park was deemed to be above 1,800 pandas, which is about 80% of the whole panda population in China.

July 2021 saw China announcing that giant pandas are no longer considered to be Endangered in the wild. The number of giant pandas in the wilderness was over 1,800 at the time.

On the Trail of Giant Panda, a program with the Earthwatch Institute aimed at working closely with the pandas and helping them adapt to the wild in order to aid them in breeding and living a healthy life as wild pandas.

In the past, a population survey of the pandas employed conventional methods. Now, DNA analysis of the feces of pandas is used to understand the panda population estimates.

In the year 2006, New York Times estimated that it costs about five times more than keeping an elephant to keep pandas.

There are International and National regulations aimed at getting rid of eliminating skin trade and poaching of the pandas.

Pandas are animals that have been dealing with the consequences of inconsiderate humans destroying their habitat. Now, there are many initiatives to restore the pandas to their former glory. Hopefully, in the years to come, pandas will no longer be considered Vulnerable animals.

FAQs

How long do pandas sleep?

As per the Smithsonian National Zoo, pandas spend a lot of their time in the day sleeping, and it is estimated that pandas spend approximately 10 hours a day sleeping.

Do pandas eat humans?

Though pandas are classified to be carnivores and still contain the digestive system of one, their diet mainly consists of bamboo and leaves. They can consume meat; however, they are not known to feast on humans. Thus, no, pandas do not eat humans, so you don't need to worry.

What noise does a panda make?

Pandas are solitary creatures and use a variety of noises to communicate. They squeak, growl, bark, and even huff, and their sound is simply going to make you fall in love with them more.

What does a panda represent?

In eastern cultures, a panda is considered to be a symbol of peace and luck, and they also symbolize strength. Due to the color combination of the panda, it has also been compared to yin and yang.

Where do panda bears live?

Pandas are predominant in China. They live mostly in temperate forests of the mountains in the southwest region of the country, where they survive on bamboo.

What does a panda eat?

Though pandas are carnivores and have the digestive system of a carnivore, their diet mainly consists of bamboo and leaves. They do eat meat when in the wild, but in captivity, they usually feast on bamboo. In captivity, they are also given fruits, honey, etc.

How fast is a panda?

Pandas have impressive speed when considering their body weight. Pandas can move at a speed of 20 mph (32 kph).

Why is the giant panda Endangered?

Pandas depend on bamboo for their diet. Thus one of the reasons why this animal is facing challenges in surviving is due to habitat loss, especially since humans are destroying their habitat. Another reason is hunting and poaching these cuddly creatures for their soft fur and other body parts.

What are baby pandas called?

A baby panda is called a panda cub. One of the fascinating panda facts is that the panda cub is born blind and is covered with just a thin layer of white coat and thus is helpless.

How many pandas are left?

There is a total of 1,864 pandas in the wild. And there are about 400 of these cuddly beings in enclosures where they are being taken care of.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Shruti Thapa picture

Shruti ThapaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a passion for American, British, and children's literature, Shruti is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Garden City University, Bengaluru. Her fluency in Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin demonstrates her linguistic abilities and global perspective. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has a keen interest in non-fiction literature, aesthetics, early childhood education, and Egyptian history. Shruti's research paper 'Bringing Art Illustrations In Education And Pop Culture' showcases her proficiency in these areas and her dedication to academic excellence.

Read full bio >