These 25 Panda Bear Facts Will Make You Smarter
We can all agree that pandemics aren't great. A panda-emic, on the other hand? We're here for it. Pandas resemble living, breathing Squishmallows. They look far more like clumsy, oversized pillows than wild animals. If you were going to hug a wild bear, a panda would be it. (But really, don't.)
In lieu of a panda bear hug, though, we're offering up 25 panda facts to help you get to know these bumbling, black and white fur babies. Enjoy the panda-monium.
What Do Panda Bears Eat?
For the most part, panda bears eat bamboo. Because bamboo is about as nutrient-dense as celery, pandas have to eat a lot of bamboo to maintain their weight.
Depending on the size of the panda, each bear eats between 25 and 85 pounds of bamboo every day! While pandas are mostly vegetarian, once in a while, they like to snack on small rodents.
Where Do Panda Bears Live?
Giant pandas live in China but only in a few specific areas. They used to live in lowland areas, but human development has limited their territory to the mountains of the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu.
They live in dense, misty forests packed with an understory of their favorite food: bamboo!
Do Panda Bears Hibernate?
Nope. Unlike other bears, the panda bear doesn't hibernate during the winter, despite living in a very cold climate.
The reason is simple. Unlike bears that eat meat, the giant panda's diet of leaves and shoots doesn't provide enough calories to fatten pandas up for a lengthy fast. They might look plump, but it's mostly fur.
Do Panda Bears Have Tails?
Pandas do have tails but really short, stubby ones. They grow very slowly and are usually only about one-tenth of the length of an adult panda's body.
They don't wag their tails to show their emotions like dogs, but they do use them to spread their scent on objects around them to notify other pandas of their presence.
Do Panda Bears Fight?
Generally speaking, pandas are peaceful and solitary creatures. They keep to themselves and don't frequently initiate fights.
However, like many other species, males will fight each other when competing for mates.
How Much Do Panda Bears Weigh?
Full-grown giant pandas vary in size, but the average panda is about 5-feet long and 3-feet tall.
Males are bigger than females. They usually weigh around 300 pounds, while females weigh around 200 pounds.
How Do Panda Bears Communicate?
Most animals have at least some way to express their emotions using their face. Pandas, however, can't make any facial expressions, and they can't move their small ears enough to give signals.
Instead, they vocalize to get their message across. They can make 11 different sounds. They also use scent glands to send messages to other pandas.
Are Panda Bears Dangerous?
Yes and no. Pandas may look cute and cuddly, but like any wild animal, they're capable of inflicting harm if provoked.
Pandas rarely attack humans, but they do have incredibly powerful jaws that can inflict serious bite wounds if they feel threatened. Wild pandas are more likely to bite than those raised in zoos, but all pandas should be seen as potentially dangerous.
Do Panda Bears Play?
One fun panda bear fact is that they love to play. In the wild, they play by climbing and exploring their habitat.
In zoos, keepers provide them with all kinds of toys, like bamboo puzzles and piles of ice, to keep them busy. Young pandas are usually more playful than adults.
How Much Do Panda Nannies Get Paid?
Yes, you read that right. Being a panda nanny is a real job. Panda nannies spend their days supervising baby pandas and documenting their daily life.
With an annual salary of $32,000, the pay isn't all that impressive. That said, meals and accommodations are included, and you get to spend your entire workday playing with pandas. So worth it.
What Do Pandas Do All Day?
Without iPads, books or school, what's a bear to do? Panda bears, like most other bears, spend their days snacking and sleeping.
Pandas need a ton of bamboo to sustain their fluffy figures, so they graze almost all day long.
Are Panda Bears Endangered?
Good news. Panda bears used to be considered endangered but not anymore. In 2016, they were upgraded from endangered to vulnerable status.
Their populations in the wild are still low, but they have continued to recover over time.
How Do Panda Bears Protect Themselves?
Pandas have incredibly strong jaws, but the truth is that they rarely need to use them for protection. Adult pandas don't have any natural predators, not including human poachers.
Panda cubs, however, are vulnerable to attack by snow leopards and birds of prey, so mother pandas guard them closely for the first year or more of their lives.
How Do Panda Bears Sleep?
Most of the time, pandas sleep on the floor of the forest. They find a spot that seems cozy and snuggle up just like we do in bed.
Sometimes, they like to hang over branches to sleep instead.
Are Panda Bears Really Bears?
For decades, researchers couldn't decide whether pandas were bears or giant raccoons. Evolutionary studies finally determined that pandas are, in fact, true bears, but they're further removed from the evolutionary tree than all other bear species.
Because of this, some scientists consider them to be living fossils.
How Do Panda Bears Reproduce?
Pandas mate like most other mammals but on a different timeline than humans. Pandas are first able to reproduce around age six. In spring, males seek out ovulating females in hopes of passing along their genes.
Pandas usually only have one baby at a time, and babies are born after a gestation of between 95 to 160 days.
Can Panda Bears Climb Trees?
Pandas are excellent climbers. They start climbing when they're just a few months old.
They might look clumsy, but pandas are actually quite adept at scrambling up trees unless the bark is too smooth and slippery to hang onto.
Can Panda Bears Swim?
Panda bears are strong and confident swimmers, but they rarely need to use their skills. Unlike other members of the bear family, they don't catch fish for food, and there are few sizable rivers in their region.
Still, they're more than capable of traversing a stream when they need to.
When Are Panda Bears Fully Grown?
When pandas are first born, they're unbelievably tiny. They're about the size of a stick of butter, and they rely completely on their mother for protection and care. They don't begin crawling for weeks. At about a month old, panda cubs look more like mini-adults.
By the time they turn one, they reach around 50 pounds and leave their mother by the time they turn two. It's usually not until the age of four, however, that pandas reach their full size.
When Do Panda Bears Sleep?
Pandas have different sleep cycles than people do. This is because of how much time it takes them to eat.
Humans can get enough calories in a few short meals a day, but pandas spend several hours snacking on bamboo. After they fill up, they sleep for a couple of hours, then wake up and eat again. Rinse and repeat.
How Long Do Panda Bears Live?
In the wild, panda bears live for about 20 years. In captivity with lots of love and veterinary care, they can live much longer.
Pandas in zoos often live until age 30, with some reported to have hit 35. The oldest panda recorded in captivity was named Jia Jia, who lived until age 38.
Can You Keep Panda Bears as a Pet?
They're fluffy, we know. The saddest panda fact on this list is that pandas make terrible pets.
Even if it were legal to buy a panda (which it is most definitely not), it's highly unlikely you would be able to take care of it. Unless you happen to have a miles-wide field of bamboo, that is.
Are Panda Bears Friendly to Humans?
As entranced as people are by pandas, another item on the list of depressing panda facts is that pandas probably don't return the sentiment. It's not that pandas dislike humans, they're just natural-born loners.
Pandas are solitary, and even when they're raised by people, they're unlikely to feel the same affection towards us as we do towards them. Sigh.
Are Panda Bears Smart?
Here's a surprising panda fact: Pandas are a lot smarter than most people believe. They aren't the most graceful creatures, admittedly, but clumsiness doesn't equate to low IQ.
The more we've studied them, the more we've learned how good they are at solving problems to access food or avoid danger. One time, two pandas even managed to escape their enclosure.
Are All Panda Bears Owned by China?
Interestingly, yes. Pandas are native to China, and the majority of living pandas today are wild. There are about 350 pandas in captivity, living in zoos and breeding centers. Only about 50 pandas, however, are cared for in zoos or sanctuaries outside of China.
They're considered property of China even when they're born in captivity in other countries. If you've ever seen a panda at a zoo near your, it's technically on loan from China.