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Giant Panda image
Giant Panda

Giant Panda

(Mammal)

Giant Panda Baby
Giant Panda Baby

Giant Panda Habits

Pandas are solitary animals. They spend two-thirds of their day feeding and the remainder of the day resting. Extremely agile climbers, they usually climb only when they are in danger from predators such as brown bears, leopards, and wild dogs. They take refuge in the nearest tree until danger has passed. Pandas have no particular resting place; they simply lie down on the ground wherever they happen to be. Pandas live in cold, damp conditions. They have exceptionally dense waterproof coats that give protection against these conditions.
At one time, the greatest threat to the giant panda's survival was man, who hunted it for its pelt. Today the principal cause of its decline is the erosion of its habitat due to crop cultivation or from natural causes such as die-back of bamboo. As its natural habitat becomes increasingly surrounded by human settlement, the panda can no longer migrate to unaffected areas. The Chinese people now support any measures necessary for the panda's protection. As a result, those caught hunting the animal face severe penalties. Special sanctuaries have been established in the panda's natural habitat with enough space for 500 to 600 animals. Scientists are studying the animal's habits and instituting a comprehensive conservation program. Zoos are also collaborating in the development of a captive breeding project.

Giant Panda Communication

Giant pandas do not communicate the way other animals do. A panda's face cannot display facial expressions. With no crest or mane, there is nothing to stand upright. Ears aren't tall enough to cock forward, and tails are too stubby. Because of these limitations, pandas are forced to communicate using other methods such as scent marking.
The giant panda creates a secretion from the anal glands and then rubs this onto tree trunks and rocks. This secretion is a dark, thick and sticky substance which can't be removed without a lot of hard work. A panda will leave a mark to advertise she is in heat and ready to reproduce or to mark territory. Another panda can tell a lot from a scent mark, including the gender, age, mood and reproductive status. A panda will use a variety of positions to scent mark, this includes a head stand, leg cock, or squatting.
In addition to scent marking, giant pandas also communicate vocally. They have up to 11 different sounds. In order to intimidate another panda, they will make a barking sound. During the reproductive season, a mating pair will produce a goat-like bleating sound. Other sounds that have been witnessed include, bleating and honking, huffing, barking, and growling sounds.

Giant Panda Breeding

The mating season is the only time pandas come together. A single cub is born five months after mating in a nest constructed of bamboo. A panda rarely gives birth to twins; if she does, the second cub is unlikely to survive.
The tiny newborn panda cub is blind; it is six inches long and weighs only three ounces. It stays with its mother for 18 months, until it is independent enough to establish its own territory.

Giant Panda Food & Feeding

Although the panda is classified as a carnivore, its diet consists almost exclusively of the stems, leaves, and young shoots of various types of bamboo. Because bamboo has a low nutritional value, the panda needs to eat huge quantities - 25 to 45 pounds a day - to sustain itself. It also eats eggs and some seasonal vegetation.

Giant Panda Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: 5 ft. standing erect. Females slightly smaller
              Weight: Up to 265 pounds. Females weigh less
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: Between 6 and 7 years old in the wild, slightly younger in captivity
             Mating: Generally in spring
             Gestation: 5 months
             Number of young: Usually single cub
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Solitary
            Diet: Mainly bamboo, supplemented by berries, fruit, flowers, fungi, grasses, bark, and occasionally small animals
            Lifespan: 20 years in the wild, and 30 years in captivity

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The giant panda has larger molar teeth than any other mammal.
  • The giant panda spends 16 hours a day eating, in which time it digests only a small portion of the food.
  • The giant panda was unknown in the Western world until 1869.
  • The panda's stumplike tail is used to spread secretions produced by the scent glands, which are located beneath the tail, onto the surrounding area.
  • The panda's hearing is so acute that it can detect even the most stealthy predators.

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