- The panda’s name in China means Big Cat Bear, and it symbolizes peace to the Chinese.
2. Poaching of pandas used to be a very big problem, but that is no longer an issue since China has more recently adopted conservation programs for pandas. There are now 63 panda reserves in China.
3. The panda is native to south central China, where it used to roam lowlands but now lives wild only in six mountain bamboo forests. There are only 2,000 pandas left in the wild. However, the number has risen almost 17 percent in the last decade.
4. Pandas only weigh about 3.5 ounces at birth and can fit in your hand. Cubs are born blind and hairless and don’t open their eyes for about 45 days after birth.
5. In the first year of life, they can gain up to 100 lbs. Adult pandas can weight up to 350 lbs. and live to be about 30 years old in captivity, less in the wild.
6. Scientists think pandas have been on earth for 2-3 million years.
7. Pandas sleep up to 12 hours a day.
8. They eat for at least 12 hours a day and consume about 30lbs of bamboo every day. Some eat up to 85lbs a day! Bamboo can grow 4 feet in 24 hours, which makes it the fastest growing plant on earth. Although pandas can eat other things, their diet consists of 99% bamboo.
9. Because of the enormous amount of food they eat, pandas can poop up to 40 times a day!
10. Female pandas are fertile for only 3 days a year, and males have a hard time knowing when those 3 days are. No wonder it’s so hard to get pandas to mate!
11. Pandas also have difficulty figuring out how to mate. Researchers recently decided to tackle this problem by showing two pandas a video of pandas mating in the wild, and it worked! The video actually helped the pandas understand how to procreate! Who knew pandas would like porn?
12. Researchers dress up as pandas while studying them in order to reduce anxiety for the animals.
13. Unlike most other bears, pandas don’t hibernate. Instead, they move to warmer climates when winter comes.
14. Females and males reach adulthood at different rates. Females become adults when they reach five years old, but it takes males until they are seven to be fully mature.
15. It’s hard to determine the gender of a panda until it reaches about four-years-old, which has led to some pandas having their gender mistaken in their early years.
16. Having a panda in a zoo can be extremely expensive. Some zoos pay up to $1 million a year just to ‘rent’ a pair of pandas from China. In addition to that, pandas cost 5 times as much to keep in a zoo as the next most expensive animal due to the fact that they require custom-made shelters, extra handlers and extreme amounts of bamboo.