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Interesting facts about the giant panda

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We found 25 interesting facts about the giant panda

Until recently, this species was endangered.

Pandas are incredibly strange members of the bear family. Even though they are carnivores, the majority of their diet consists of plants. Interestingly, they do not have anatomical adaptations to such a diet. Microorganisms living in their digestive system are responsible for the digestion of plants, without which pandas would not be able to eat, for example, their favorite bamboo.

The giant panda is the only living panda species, and although the species was critically endangered, its population has been increasing in recent years thanks to intensive conservation efforts. It is also possible to breed pandas in captivity, which is not an easy task and initially led to the death of many cubs.

1

The giant panda is a predatory mammal from the bear family.

This is the only living representative of pandas, besides the giant panda, four other extinct species are classified.

2

The giant panda lives in a small area in central China.

They are found in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu. The habitat area of ​​these mammals was significantly reduced due to the sharp deforestation that occurred in the XNUMXth century.

3

Its natural habitat is forested mountainous areas at an altitude of 1600 to 2000 m above sea level.

They do not build shelters like other bears, but in winter they descend to lower altitudes, where they live among trees or inhabit caves.

4

These animals are covered with lush black and white fur.

They have black ears, eye frames, muzzle and paws, the rest of the body is white. The body structure is typical of bears. It was not possible to definitively determine why pandas have such contrasting colors, perhaps this allows them to effectively camouflage themselves in snowy mountain environments.

5

Females are slightly smaller than males (from 10 to 20%).

Adults range from 120 to 190 cm in length, of which 10 to 15% is the tail. The weight of an adult male is about 160 kg, females are about 125 kg, although there are females weighing only 70 kg.

6

Compared to other bears, the giant panda has a long tail.

The only bear whose tail is longer than that of the giant panda is the sloth wrasse, whose tail can reach 17 cm in length.

7

Although a member of the carnivorous bears, the species became a food specialist about 2.4 million years ago and feeds almost exclusively on bamboo shoots and other plants. Sometimes pandas also eat small mammals and fish.

Panda cubs are born unable to digest bamboo and gain this ability thanks to the bacterial flora they absorb in their mother's milk.

8

Despite the predominantly plant-based diet, both the panda's digestive system and teeth are still typical of carnivores.

The efficiency of digestion of plant foods in pandas is very low, which is reflected in a small amount of incoming energy and protein.

9

To be satisfied, an adult panda must eat 9 to 14 kilograms of bamboo shoots per day.

The digestive system is quite short and food passes through it quite quickly, which is why pandas are able to eat such large amounts of food.

10

Due to their feeding habits, pandas are sedentary animals.

They conserve energy whenever possible and only migrate when they feel threatened or when food is scarce in their current territory.

11

In addition to a plant-based diet, some zoos provide pandas with specially prepared treats consisting of animal ingredients.

They include fish, meat and eggs.

12

They are loners, tied to their territory. Females are especially sensitive to the presence of other females nearby.

During the breeding season, they mate in pairs, and after the end of the breeding season, the males leave the females, who raise their offspring alone.

13

The breeding season begins in March and lasts until May. Estrus in females lasts from two to three days and occurs only once a year.

Copulation can last from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, but these actions can be repeated when the male wants to make sure that he has impregnated the female.

14

A giant panda's pregnancy can last between 95 and 160 days.

This discrepancy in time is due to the fact that a fertilized egg can remain in the reproductive system for a long time before attaching to the wall of the uterus.

15

Newborn pandas are pink, blind and toothless.

They weigh from 90 to 130 g and immediately begin to feed on their mother's milk. This feeding can last up to half an hour and occurs six to fourteen times a day. Only one to two weeks after birth, the skin of the cubs turns gray.

16

A month after birth, panda cubs turn black and white.

Initially, their fur is very delicate and soft, but with age it becomes tougher.

17

The mother feeds her offspring with milk for about a year. During this time they reach a weight of about 45 kg.

Panda cubs begin to eat bamboo in small quantities only six months after birth. They remain under their mother's care for 18-24 months after birth.

18

They reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and eight years.

They remain sexually active until about the age of twenty.

19

About half of panda births are twins.

Of twins born, usually only one survives to adulthood because the mother usually chooses the stronger offspring to suckle while the other dies of starvation. Due to a mother's inability to store fat, her body cannot produce enough milk to feed all her children. During one pregnancy, from one to three cubs can be born.

20

The average lifespan of a giant panda in the wild is 10 to 15 years.

In captivity, they live up to 30 years, and the record holder was 34 years old.

21

Unlike other bears, the giant panda does not hibernate.

22

Due to their feeding habits, pandas defecate up to 40 times a day.

The food excreted by a panda is poorly digested because the time spent in the digestive system is too short to undergo all the necessary processes.

23

The giant panda's genome was sequenced in 2009.

24

Due to its size, the giant panda has no natural enemies (except humans).

However, the cubs face more threats: they are hunted by snow leopards, yellow-throated martens, wild dogs, Himalayan bears and eagles.

25

The giant panda is a critically endangered species.

Its status was upgraded from endangered in 2014 when its population exceeded 1850 animals. This is a 17 percent increase from 2003, when China's panda population was 1600.

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