40 Interesting Facts About Giant Pandas

  1. The giant panda, also known as the panda bear or the panda, belongs to the bear family. They are native to the temperate forests of southwest China.
  2. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries in China is the largest contiguous habitat of these mammals. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains more than 30% of the world panda population. (Source)
  3. In China, a company uses pandas' feces to make tissues and toilet paper. These are 10 to 20 times more expensive than ordinary tissues. (Source)
  4. The giant panda is the only animal not eaten by Chinese people. It is primarily due to the unpleasant taste of its meat. It is also the only bear not used in traditional Chinese medicine. (Source)
  5. Keeping pandas in a zoo is more expensive than any other animal. They cost five times more compared to elephants in captivity. (Source)
  6. Conservation of the giant panda's habitat in China has saved several other animals and plants in areas around this territory. (Source)
  7. In contrast to other bears, giant pandas do not hibernate despite their cold habitat. It is due to the panda’s fat-free diet. Instead of hibernation, these mammals migrate to lower elevations (up to 4,000 feet) during winters from higher altitudes of 11,000 feet.
  8. Ancient giant pandas were omnivorous. Pandas became herbivorous over 2 million years ago. They developed stronger jaws and a false thumb during this period.
  9. The length of pandas is more than 4 feet, while they can stand nearly 3 feet tall at shoulders. They can attain weight between 220-330 pounds. Like many other mammals, males are bigger than females. 
  10. There are two subspecies of giant pandas. The new subspecies was discovered in 2005 in the Qinling Mountain range in China. These are different from pandas in the Sichuan cluster due to their separate skull and molar sizes. (Source)
  11. There are estimates that the ancestors of modern pandas lived in Europe before migrating to Asia. Fossils of panda-like animals have been discovered in Hungary and Spain that are 10 million and 11.5 million years old, respectively. Pandas have been present in China for the past 8 million years. (Source)
  12. The oldest fossil of a giant panda has been discovered in Cizhutuo Cave in China. It is 22,000 years old. The modern living pandas split from other pandas 20 million years ago. (Source)
  13. Unlike other animals, giant pandas do not use facial expressions to communicate. Instead, they use scent marking through secretions from anal glands and 11 different vocal sounds for this purpose. (Source)
  14. In contrast to popular belief, pandas can become quite aggressive toward humans. Few incidents have been recorded in zoos where pandas badly injured humans due to or without provocation. (Source)
  15. According to a census in 2014, there are 1,864 pandas in the wild. It proves that their population increased 17% in the last decade. (Source)
  16. All pandas in the world belong to China. These also include baby pandas born anywhere in the world.
    Closeup of a giant panda
    All pandas in the world belong to China

  17. China has used giant pandas for diplomacy on several occasions. The “panda diplomacy” started in the 7th Century during Tang Dynasty. Communist China has sent pandas as a gift to communist countries (North Korea and USSR) and the USA. (Source)
  18. The Chinese name for giant panda is “cat bear” or “big cat bear.” Chinese also use other words for pandas, including bamboo bear, spotted bear, etc.
  19. In 2009, Taipei Zoo in Taiwan presented two brown forest bears as pandas by dying them in black and white. It is known as the “Tainan fake panda incident” and happened on April Fool’s Day.
  20. Giant pandas have the 2nd longest tail among bears after sloth bears. The length of its tail is between 4-6 in. (10-15 cm), which is one-tenth of its body length. The tail of the baby panda is one-fourth of the total body length. Panda uses an acidic odor from a gland in its tail to mark its territory. (Source)
  21. The average lifespan for pandas is 20 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity. The oldest giant panda in captivity lived for 38 years and died in 2016. (Source)
  22. A study finds that pandas can regenerate their teeth thanks to special enamel. This tooth enamel reduces the growth of small cracks, but it cannot prevent large-scale ruptures. (Source)
  23. An adult giant panda has 42 teeth. These include canines, incisors, molars, and premolars. Their large molar teeth assist them to crush bamboo up to 1.5 inches thick. 
  24. The giant panda’s thick and wooly fur helps the animal to remain warm in cold, wet mountainous habitats.
  25. Giant panda belongs to flesh-eating carnivores, but their main diet is bamboo (a plant food). It has several herbivores-like features: the shape of the skull, dentition, jaw musculature, and pseudo thumb. Pandas have also lost the taste of meat, but their digestive system remains a carnivore. Their macronutrient (especially protein) intake is similar to that of other carnivorous animals. (Source)
  26. Pandas can survive their plant-only bamboo diet by eating nutritious parts of this plant. They also get calcium and other nutrients by licking rocks. (Source)
  27. The large size and round face of the panda are due to its bamboo diet. Giant pandas eat any of the 25 bamboo species in the wild. Pandas also eat meat, fish, and other animal foods occasionally.
  28. Pandas eat 25 to 50 pounds of bamboo every day. They spend 10 to 16 hours a day eating. They defecate a lot after eating food, and do this even while sleeping. (Source)
  29. Newborn giant pandas are pink, blind, and of minute size and weight. Their small size at birth relative to their mothers is only comparable to kangaroos and echidnas among mammals. (Source)
  30. Unlike other bears, some pandas cannot climb trees. A few others use their heads for assistance in climbing trees. (Source)
  31. Like other bears, giant pandas can also swim easily. However, they spend less time in the water due to the absence of marine food in their diet.
  32. Adult pandas have almost no natural predators. Panda cubs are sometimes hunted by snow leopards, martens, jackals, etc. (Source)
    A snow leopard
    Snow leopard is one of few predators of panda cubs

  33. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) uses a giant panda as a featured animal on its logo. It symbolizes endangered species that can survive in their natural environment. (Source)
  34. Black eye markings do not protect pandas from glare. Pandas use these patches to recognize each other. (Source)
  35. Giant pandas use their black and white fur as camouflage in snowy and shadowy areas. The dark ears and eyes in pandas are for communication. (Source
  36. The first giant panda was born in captivity on 9th September 1963 in Beijing zoo. The first panda twins were born on 25th July 2018 at Hetaoping Wilderness Training Base, China. Giant pandas have the smallest placental mammal babies relative to their mother, which is 900 times heavier than babies. (Source)
  37. Giant pandas have one of the strongest bite forces among carnivores. In the wild, giant pandas mate more often compared to pandas in captivity. (Source) 
  38. Giant pandas have a mating season of just a few days a year. The natural mating process is laborious in captivity compared to the wild. A male and female couple in a Hong Kong zoo could mate naturally after living together for 13 years. It happened during the closure of the zoo for visitors. (Source
  39. Around 50% of births in giant pandas result in twins. However, only one of these babies usually survives in the wild as the mother abandons the weaker one. The survival rate for twins in captivity is almost 100%. (Source
  40. Giant pandas can digest the cellulose present in bamboo. There is a high chance that microbes in their gut assist in the digestion of cellulose. (Source)

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