Today is National Panda Day, and what better way to celebrate our black, white and furry friends than with some fun facts about them?
They eat A LOT
Giant pandas eat between 12 to 15 kilograms of food, over a span of 12 hours, every single day, but only one-fifth of that food actually gets digested. No wonder they poop around 40 times a day!
Their diet is 99 per cent bamboo, and they eat different parts of the bamboo to get different nutrients. If they are lacking in certain minerals in their diet, they have been known to lick rocks to get them.
Have to hold all that bamboo
They have an extra wrist bone which acts like a thumb for gripping bamboo and other foods. How very handy!
Teeny tiny babies
Newborn pandas are tiny, and are the smallest mammal babies in comparison to how big they can grow. They are pink and totally hairless, but start to grow grey hairs indicating their markings, which eventually turn black.
Pulling a switcheroo
Panda twins are not uncommon, but if they are born in the wild, the mother will only choose one to take care of because she cannot produce enough milk to feed both. In breeding centres and zoos, workers will actually switch the babies around so both panda cubs get enough milk from the mother.
A word of advice
Although giant pandas eat fruit and bamboo, they have teeth that are supposed to eat meat. Their molars are flat, and it helps them crush anything they eat. So never put your hand in a panda’s mouth!
Did you know?
Giant pandas lived all over China around 1-2 million years ago, but now they only live in southwest China because of bamboo deforestation.
Due to a combination of climate change, habitat loss and slow breeding, pandas are now vulnerable creatures and are on the endangered list. You can help stop our furry friends from going extinct by donating to charities like the World Wildlife Fund. They establish panda reserves, protect them from poaching, and even let you “adopt” one to keep up with its life!