Panda Bear Facts

  • In the late 1900s, many pandas starved to death because the fountain bamboo they ate came to the end of its 100-year growth cycle and died back.
  • Giant pandas often give birth to twins, but in the wild one cub is always left to die.
  • Pandas have an inefficient digestive system – up to 50% of the plant material they eat passes out of their body intact within 10 hours.
  • Although bamboo forms the bulk of its diet, the giant panda also eats fish, small birds and rodents.
  • The giant panda eats sitting up, pushing bamboo canes into its mouth for 16 hours a day.
  • In ancient China, pandas were believed to have magical powers, and people wore panda masks to ward off evil spirits.
  • Reduced in number by hunting and deforestation, there are probably fewer than 1000 giant pandas left in the wild, in forest reserves in southeast China.
  • The giant panda has an unsuccessful zoo breeding record, with about 20 successes in the last 50 years.
  • Much livelier than the giant panda, the red panda is a nimble climber. It uses its long tail for balance, and when threatened rears up and hisses.
  • Giant pandas reach up to 150 kg in weight, but when new-born weigh only 100-150 g.
  • Giant and red pandas have an extra ‘thumb’ that enables them to grasp their food.
  • The panda’s diet is almost 99% bamboo. Eating fresh shoots in spring, mature leaves in summer and stems in winter. Bamboo thickets also provide shelter for sleeping.