Bamboo Snacks and Other Giant Panda Bear Facts

© PansLaos - Getty Images

By Emy Rodriguez Flores, Redbook

It's time to drop some giant panda knowledge on you in celebration of National Panda Day. Not to be confused with the red panda (a mammal barely related to the panda bear), the giant panda is the only species of its kind and currently endangered. Listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, the giant panda only has 500-1,000 mature adult bears existing today. Endangered by a plethora of threats, both human and environmental, the giant panda is a bear that is crucial to our world. If we don't act quickly, our future generations will never be able to see these lovable bamboo-obsessed care bears outside of a photograph or screen.

Organizations like WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Pandas International are committed to the conservation of these bears and holidays like National Panda Day are meant to bring awareness to the threats these creatures face. Check out these fun facts about the adorable panda and do your part in keeping these bears alive and well. 

They don't hibernate.

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Unlike other bears, giant pandas don't hibernate during winter seasons or have permanent dens. They're known to be winter resistant and usually take refuge in hollow trees.

Pandas are usually Leos.

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Due to their spring mating season, pandas usually give birth in late summer around August. While this may vary, you see a lot more giant panda cubs around this time.

They're the face of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an organization with the sole mission of preserving the global animal population and reducing harmful human impacts on natural environments. Since 1961, they've used the giant panda on their logo. The logo was inspired by Chi-Chi, a panda housed at the London Zoo in 1961 during the organizations early days.

Pandas love bamboo.

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Even though giant pandas are categorized as true bears, their diet mainly consist of leaves, stems and shoots of bamboo trees. They have to eat 26-83 lbs. of bamboo every day to stay healthy. They may hunt wild rodents and other small animals, but very rarely.

Wild giant pandas only live in one area.

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Due to expanding human populations and development, giant pandas have been secluded to a bamboo forest in the Minshan and Qinling mountains located in south central China.

They have six digits.

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Giant pandas have five digits and one opposable pseudo-thumb. This helps them grab and bend bamboo better!

The giant panda was first brought to America in 1936.

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Socialite Ruth Harkness traveled to China in 1936 and brought back a giant panda named Su Lin in her arms. This was the first case of a giant panda in North America. The bear eventually landed in the Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago, but unfortunately died two years later in 1938.

They are loners.

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Giant pandas are known to be socially independent. They usually travel by themselves up until mating season where they mate with more than one partner.

Pandas live longer in captivity than the wild.

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Due to human and environmental threats, giant panda's generally live up to 25-35 years in captivity and 15-20 years in the wild. Consistent food and land in captivity allow pandas to thrive, which is unfortunate since the bears should be allowed to live freely in the wild.

They eat up to 14 hours a day (and in a sitting position).

© China News Service - Getty Images

Pandas sure do love to eat! Due to the low nutrients in bamboo, giant pandas have to eat large quantities which usually takes all day. Their digestive system is also not up to par, which forces them to eat more and for longer times. Their favorite eating positions: sitting up or on their backs.

How can you help?

© Vyacheslav Prokofyev - Getty Images

Giant pandas are still considered vulnerable and endangered and it's up to us to make sure they survive. Sure, they're adorable...but that doesn't mean they're just social media posts. They're living beings with instincts and emotions. You can help by traveling smart and donating to great organizations like WWF.

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Pets Magazine: Bamboo Snacks and Other Giant Panda Bear Facts
Bamboo Snacks and Other Giant Panda Bear Facts
How can you not love these adorable bears?
Pets Magazine
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