Facts about Giant panda
The only bear that does not hibernate during winter
Pandas are incredibly strange representatives of Bears (Ursidae family). Despite being carnivores, most of their diet consists of plants. Interestingly, they have no anatomical adaptations for such a diet. The panda's digestion of plants is done by microorganisms living in its digestive system, without which it would not be able to eat its favorite bamboo.
The giant panda is the only living representative of the pandas, and although the species was threatened with extinction, thanks to intensive conservation efforts, its population has been increasing in recent years. It has also been possible to breed pandas in captivity, which is not a simple thing and initially resulted in the deaths of many cubs.
1The giant panda is a predatory mammal of the bear family.
It is the only living representative of pandas; in addition to the great panda, four more extinct species have been classified.
2The great panda inhabits a small area in central China.
They are found in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu. However, the range of these mammals has decreased significantly due to the drastic deforestation that occurred in the 20th century.
3Its natural habitat is forested, mountainous areas between 1600 and 2000 meters above sea level.
They do not build shelters like other bears, and during the winter season, they descend to lower altitudes where they live among trees or inhabit caves.
4These animals are covered with lush black and white fur.
They have black ears, eye frames, snouts, and paws; the rest of their body is white. The body structure is characteristic of bears. It has not been clearly shown why pandas have such contrasting coloration. Perhaps it allows them to camouflage themselves effectively in snowy mountain environments.
5Females are slightly smaller than males (10 to 20%).
Adults are 120 to 190 cm (47 to 75 in) long, of which about 10 to 15% is the tail. The weight of an adult male is about 160 kg (350 lbs) and of a female about 125 kg (275 lb), although there are females weighing only 70 kg (154 lbs).
6Compared to other bears, the giant panda has a long tail.
The only bear whose tail is longer than the great panda is the sloth bear, whose tail can reach 17 cm (6,7 in).
7Although it is representative of carnivorous bears, the species became a food specialist about 2.4 million years ago and feeds almost exclusively on bamboo shoots and other plants. Occasionally, pandas also eat small mammals and fish.
Young panda cubs are born unable to digest bamboo and acquire this ability with the bacterial flora they receive from their mother's milk.
8Despite a primarily plant-based menu, the panda's digestive system and dentition are still characteristic of carnivores.
The digestion efficiency of plant foods is very low in pandas which translates into small amounts of energy and protein.
9To satiate themselves, an adult panda must eat between 9 and 14 kilograms (20 - 30 pounds) of bamboo shoots per day.
The digestive system is relatively short, and food passes through it quickly so that pandas can eat such large amounts of food.
10Due to the nature of their diet, pandas are not very mobile animals.
They conserve energy whenever possible and only migrate when they feel threatened or when food is scarce in their current territory.