Animal Class >> Herbivores

Panda

The Giant panda is an endangered species and is recognized by its distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. It belongs to carnivore order but its 99% diet is bamboo. It also eats food such as honey, eggs, fish and yams. The giant panda is a favorite of the public, at least partly on account of the fact that the species has an appealing baby-like cuteness that makes it seem to resemble a living teddy bear. Adults measure around 1.5 m long and around 75 cm tall at the shoulder. Males can weigh up to 115 kg (253 pounds). Females are generally smaller than males, and can occasionally weigh up to 100 kg (220 pounds). Giant Pandas live in mountainous regions, such as Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, and Tibet. They spent most of their lives alone, with males and females meeting only during the breeding season.

Facts about Panda or Giant Pandas

  1. Only about 1,000 of these black-and-white relatives of bears survive in the wild.
  2. Pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo shoots and leaves. Occasionally they eat other vegetation, fish, or small animals, but bamboo accounts for 99 percent of their diets.
  3. Pandas eat fast, they eat a lot, and they spend about 12 hours a day doing it. The reason: They digest only about a fifth of what they eat. Overall, bamboo is not very nutritious. The shoots and leaves are the most valuable parts of the plants, so that's what a well-fed panda concentrates on eating. To stay healthy, they have to eat a lot-up to 15 percent of their body weight in 12 hours-so they eat fast.
  4. Pandas' molars are very broad and flat. The shape of these teeth helps the animals crush the bamboo shoots, leaves, and stems they eat. To get the bamboo to their mouths, they hold the stems with their front paws, which have enlarged wrist bones that act as thumbs for gripping.
  5. There are many species of bamboo. Only a few of these grow at the high altitudes where pandas live today. A panda should have at least two bamboo species where it lives, or it will starve.
  6. Giant pandas used to be able to move quite easily from one mountaintop to another in search of food.
  7. Pandas are shy; they don't venture into areas where people live. This restricts pandas to very limited areas.
  8. And sometimes, when all the bamboo in their area dies off naturally, pandas starve because they're unable to move to new areas where other bamboo species thrive.

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