About the giant panda.
The paws of the pandas have an extra finger, they use it as a thumb to grip bamboo.
This bear species does not hibernate, as it can not store fat during the year on its bamboo diet.
They have inhabited the planet for more than 2 million years and remains of a prehistoric relative (Agriarctos beatrix) have been found in the forests of Zaragoza, Spain.
They spend around 14 hours a day sitting eating bamboo, as their digestive system is limited, typical of carnivores. Despite having strong molars to crush tough bamboo stems, it is not easy for them to digest them. That may be the reason why they create around 20 kg of droppings per day, pooping up to 40 times.
They are endangered because of the destruction of their habitat and the poaching of the past. Moreover, females are fertile once a year during only 2 or 3 days and their reproduction is very slow.
Panda cubs are at birth 900 times smaller than their mother, they are about the size of a rat and weigh 110 g (3.88 oz). They live with their mother until they are 2 years old, and the first 4 months females remain hidden with their cubs.
They are solitary animals and they only meet other pandas during the mating season.
The Chinese government has currently in effect strong laws agains giant panda poaching. Until 1997, killing a panda was punishable by death, but then it changed to 20 years of prison.
These animals are expert tree-climbers and they can also swim very well.
Pandas are not sociable in the wild and they can even be very aggressive when harassed. This, together with their strong jaw, make it an animal that seems cute and cuddly, but it is actually dangerous.
Its closest relative is the Andean bear or spectacled bear. Curiously enough, it is more closely related to the raccoon or coati than to other bear species.
In China it is a symbol and icon because of the black and white coloring, directly associated by this country’s culture with the Yin and Yang.
|COMMON NAME||CONSERVATION STATUS|
|Ailuropoda melanoleuca||1,2-1,8 m (4-6 ft)|
|Ursidae||70-125 kg (154-275.5 lb)|
|Around 1,000 in the wild||They belong to the order Carnivora, but 99% of their diet is based on around 30 bamboo species. They sometimes eat eggs or insects, where they get their proteins.|
|Mountains covered with humid coniferous forest, perfect habitat for the type of bamboo they mostly eat.||They live in southeastern China, specifically in the Minshan, Qinling, Qionglai, Liangshan, Daxiangling and Xiaoxiangling mountains.|