Many of you reading this post will have seen the incredibly cute panda videos that have been posted on YouTube. They seem to have developed their own fan club! But do you know anything about these pandas and how they live? In this post, we are going to take a look at some truly fascinating facts about giant pandas…
1. Pandas are endangered
One of the most upsetting facts about pandas is that they are endangered. In fact, it is predicted that there are approximately just 1,000 pandas left in the wild. This is why it is critical that we do everything in our power to protect them.
2. Pandas do not hibernate
A lot of people assume that pandas hibernate because most bears do. However, when the cold weather starts to approach, pandas leave their mountain homes and move on to warmer temperatures.
3. Their black and white coat
There has been a lot of speculation over the years by scientists with regards to the black and white fur that pandas boast. Some scientists believed that this fur helps them to maintain the right body temperature, as white reflects heat and black absorbs it. However, more and more scientists seem to be leaning towards the theory that their fur helps them to camouflage while in the snow and in bamboo forests. Furthermore, a 2017 study that was published in the Journal “Behavioral Ecology” stated that the black ears pandas have are a symbol of aggression towards any predators.
4. Breeding season
Pandas don’t really like to make friends! They are solitary animals. Females and males only come together during breeding season, when they use calls and scent marks to communicate with one and other. Female pandas will give birth to one or two cubs every two years. Before cubs venture off on their own, they will stay with their mother for approximately 18 months. Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about baby pandas is that they are born pink! They also only measure around 15 cm, which is the size of a pencil.
5. The scientific name for a giant panda
Did you know that Ailuropoda melanoleuca is the scientific name for a giant panda? This means black and white cat-foot.
6. Pandas love to eat
Another thing you should know about pandas is that they love their food! They spend 12 hours a day eating! Crazy, right? In this period, they will shift up to 12 kg of bamboo. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that these big mammals only really feast on bamboo. While they may eat fish or small animals on occasion, bamboo actually makes up 99% of their diet. The trouble is that bamboo does not have a lot of nutritional value. Because of this, pandas tend to live a very low-energy, sedentary lifestyle.
7. They love a nap
If there’s one thing a lot of us have in common with pandas, it’s our love for sleep! Pandas will often take two to four-hour naps after they have eaten. In the summer, they can nap for six hours or longer. If you search for photographs of sleeping pandas online, you will quickly realise that they do not care what position they sleep in either. They can snooze on their bellies, sides, or backs. They can sleep sprawled out or curled up in a ball.
8. They live in China
You will find giant pandas in China. These black and white bears live high up in the mountains of central China, where there are thick bamboo forests, so they have plenty to feast on.
9. Pandas are crucial for the forest ecosystem
Not only do pandas enjoy their forest homes, but they play a pivotal role here. This is through spreading seeds, which encourage vegetation growth. This helps to ensure that other residents of the forest have a suitable home, for example the endangered golden monkey, blue dwarf sheep, and multi-coloured pheasants.
So there you have it: some of the most interesting facts about pandas. Did you learn something new?