10 characteristics of the PANDA BEARS
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies giant pandas as in Danger of extinction. This is an improvement. In the 1980s, giant pandas were listed as rare by the IUCN. As of 2008, when the most recent assessment was made, there was "little doubt" that fewer than 2,500 mature giant pandas existed in the wild. A survey conducted in 2002 indicated a total population of approximately 1,600 individuals. National Geographic estimates that 100 giant pandas live in zoos.
However, steps are being taken to save them. There are 50 panda reserves in China that protect about 45 percent of the giant panda's habitat, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Main characteristics of the Panda Bears
- Giant pandas (often referred to simply as "pandas") are black and white bears. In the wild, they are found in dense bamboo forests, high in the mountains of central China. Here you can see our interesting facts about China!
- These magnificent mammals are omnivorous. But while pandas occasionally eat small animals and fish, bamboo makes up 99 percent of their diet. A giant panda's appetite for bamboo is insatiable. They eat bamboo 12 hours a day. That adds up to 28 pounds. (12.5 kg) of bamboo per day, according to National Geographic. But one reason they eat so much is that bamboo is low in nutrients, according to the San Diego Zoo. Giant pandas also eat rodents, fish, insects, and birds. Eating both vegetation and meat makes these pandas omnivorous.
- Family time! Female pandas give birth to one or two cubs every two years. The cubs stay with their mothers for 18 months before venturing out on their own!
- Unlike most other bears, pandas do not hibernate. As winter approaches, they head to their mountain homes in warmer temperatures, where they continue to chew on bamboo!
- Giant pandas have a special bone that extends from their wrists called a "pseudo thumb," according to the San Diego Zoo. They use the pseudo thumb to hold and manipulate the bamboo.
- Pandas are BIG eaters – every day they fill their stomachs for up to 12 hours, shifting up to 12 kilograms of bamboo!
- The giant panda's scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which means "black and white cat's foot."
- Giant pandas grow to between 1.2m and 1.5m, and weigh between 75kg and 135kg. Scientists aren't sure how long pandas live in the wild, but in captivity they live for about 30 years.
- Baby pandas are born pink and measure approximately 15 cm. That's about the size of a pencil! They are also born blind, only opening their eyes six to eight weeks after birth. At 18 months, the cub is weaned and sent out to live on its own. By the time the females are four to five years old and the males are six to seven years old, the pups are fully mature.
- These magnificent mammals are thought to be solitary animals, with males and females only coming together briefly to mate. Recent research, however, suggests that giant pandas occasionally meet outside of the breeding season and communicate with each other through scent marking and calls. They don't like being around other pandas so much that they have a heightened sense of smell that lets them know when another panda is around, so it can be avoided, according to National Geographic. If another giant panda approaches, the two will end up squashing and snarling at each other. Sometimes they even bite each other. On average, a giant panda's home range is about 1.9 square miles (5 square kilometers). To mark their territory, giant pandas secrete a waxy-scented marker that they rub on their territory. According to the San Diego Zoo, other giant pandas can distinguish sex, age, reproductive status, social status, and more.
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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2023) 10 characteristics of the PANDA BEARS, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-the-panda-bears/ (Consultado el: 22-09-2023)
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