Pandas are beloved as adorable, roly-poly bears who nibble on bamboo all day. They also have the most adorable fuzzy faces and are prone to clumsily falling over on their little rear ends.
That’s all good and well, but there is more to your average panda than meets the eye. They may be cute, but they can also be pretty darn dangerous if you give them a reason to be mad at you.
There are many wonderful things to learn about our natural world, and many things that came as a genuine surprise to me when I started looking into pandas.
These 11 panda facts really are incredible. All I really previously knew about pandas was that they are pretty darn cute, and that these cubs in captivity really, really, really like to go down their slide, which makes them even more adorable.
Did you know any of these fascinating things about pandas before? Hopefully more people will want to learn about these amazing creatures and help keep them alive and well on this planet we share with them.
Let us know in the comments if we missed anything, and please SHARE with your family and friends who love pandas too!
1. Pandas Don't Hibernate
Bears are quite well-known for their winter hibernation, but pandas do not take part. They have very little body fat due to their diet of bamboo, and could never survive the cold. They simply move to a warmer climate, which usually isn’t too far away.
2. Pandas Are Protected By Hefty Sentences, But They Weren't Always
It’s been illegal to kill pandas since the 1960s, but this wasn’t strictly enforced until 1987. Today it’s 10-20 years in prison, but according to International Business Times, the death penalty isn’t entirely out of the question either!
3. Their Chubby Cheeks Aren't Actually Chubby
Pandas have one of the highest bite forces of any carnivore (yes, they do sometimes eat small animals, though their diet is mostly herbivorous), and their cheeks are packed full of muscle, not pudge. Biting through bamboo is no small feat. Have you ever tried to hack though it with an ax? It’s not easy.
4. Panda Moms Are Single Moms
After the female has mated, she shoos the male away from her territory so that she can raise her cub without the help of any other pandas. She usually only has one cub at a time, but if twins are born, she has to ignore the weaker, as she doesn’t have the energy to raise two at once.
5. They Eat And Sleep A Whole Lot
Pandas sleep 10-16 hours a day, which is just a few hours shy of your average house cat, the king of naps. Pandas spend nearly all of the remaining time gnawing away at bamboo. There really isn’t much time to do anything else.
6. Their Insides Are Protected From Splinters
Panda’s esophaguses and stomachs are lined with tough material to protect them from the bamboo splinters they ingest all hours of the day.
7. Their Babies Are Teeny Tiny In Comparison To Mom
A panda cub is only 1/90oth the size of her mother when she is born, and about the size of a stick of butter. Compare this to human babies who are 1/22nd of the size of their mother. This means that to be proportional to a panda, a human baby at her normal size would have to have a mom who weighed well over 7,000 lbs.
8. About 300 Pandas Live In Captivity
These pandas are all part of breeding programs in the hopes of getting the dwindling population out in the wild back up to par. As little as 1,600 pandas still roam the wild, with the species only recently coming off the list of endangered species.
9. They Are Pigeon-Toed
This means they walk with their toes facing inward, and it’s pretty darn adorable. This doesn’t make them clumsy, though, as they can move through their environments with great ease and sneaky silence.
10. They Go #2 A Lot
Pandas have to eat pounds and pounds of food per day because they only process about 20% of the nutrients they take in. That means they can potentially excrete up to 88 pounds on a given day. That’s a whole bunch of poop.
11. It's Rare To See More Than One At A Time
Pandas in the wild can’t really compete with one another for natural resources, so aside from the brief mating process, they tend to be solitary creatures. If you catch two together in the wild, consider that the four-leafed clover of panda sightings.
Did you know any of these cool things about adorable pandas? Please SHARE with your family and friends on Facebook!