March 16th is National Panda Bear Day which means it is absolute panda-monium here with fun facts about these bears and more for you!!
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Panda-monium: 13 Fun Facts About These Bears We Love!
1 – The scientific name of the panda bear is Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which means “black and white cat-foot”. The white of their coats helps pandas hide in the snow, and the black helps them blend into the shadows of the forest.
2 – Giant pandas live 18–20 years in the wild and 25 to 30 years in captivity. A panda year can be considered about three human years in terms of life expectancy.
Babies and Adults too
3 – Newborn pandas are incredibly small and fragile, weighing only about 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 140 grams) at birth, and measuring about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length. In other words, a newborn panda is roughly the size of a stick of butter! They are also born with pink skin, which gradually turns black as they grow older, and they do not have any fur or teeth yet. Despite their small size and vulnerability, baby pandas grow quickly and can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms) within their first year of life.
As for adults, females can grow up to about 200 pounds, while males can grow up to about 300 pounds!
All About Food
4 – They are actually omnivores. In addition to bamboo, pandas also eat small animals and fish occasionally. And like many of us (including and definitely me, pandas have a sweet tooth! They have been known to eat sugar cane and even honey when available.
5 – Pandas have a very efficient digestive system that allows them to extract nutrients from the bamboo, which is otherwise difficult to digest.
6 – Plus, a pseudo-thumb (an extension of their wrist bone), which helps them hold bamboo while eating. And it is good that they have these (as well as a great sense of smell), for….
7 – 99% of a panda’s diet consists of bamboo! However, bamboo itself is low in nutrients. So, in order to keep up their energy, pandas have to eat a lot; like around 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, and this depends on the part of the bamboo they are eating. Pandas spend about 12 hours a day eating.
8 – Speaking of eating so much, this means that they also thus poop a lot!! In fact, pandas poop about 40 times a day, and even when sleeping!
And the Rest
9 – Like eating, sleeping is an integral part of the pandas’ daily routines. They can sleep for up to 14 hours a day! Eat and sleep – that is what they really mostly do!! How does that sound to you??
10 – Pandas have a unique way of marking their territory – they rub their bodies against trees, rocks, and other objects to leave their scent.
11 – Pandas have a special adaptation in their throat that helps them make a distinctive bleating sound. Additionally, pandas use other vocalizations, such as honks and grunts, to communicate with each other and to establish their dominance within their social hierarchy.
12 – Pandas are mostly solitary animals and do not form social groups like other bear species.
13 – The panda bear is on the logo for the WWF. Its inspiration came from Chi-Chi, a giant panda that was living at the London Zoo in 1961, the same year WWF was created. WWF’s founders wanted a symbol that would overcome all language barriers, and finalized upon the panda bear.
Extra, Extra on the Fun Facts About Panda Bears
- The word “ailuropoda” is derived from the Greek words “ailuros” (meaning “cat”) and “podos” (meaning “foot”), referring to the panda’s cat-like feet. The second part of the scientific name, “melanoleuca”, is also derived from Greek, with “melano” meaning “black” and “leuca” meaning “white”, referring to the panda’s distinctive black and white markings. So together, the scientific name “Ailuropoda melanoleuca” means “black and white cat-foot”
- Pandas have been known to do handstands against trees, possibly to mark their territory or to leave their scent higher up.
- Panda poop has been known to have many uses: from effective fertilizer to raw materials for artists to create pieces of art and scientific research! Since pandas eat almost exclusively bamboo, their feces are rich in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can be used as a natural fertilizer for plants. In addition, that unique property that helps the pandas break down bamboo has helped scientists develop new enzymes and biotechnology applications.
- Sleeping is essential to them, but they also “power nap”, or sleep while sitting upright!!
More Panda-monium: Related Reads and Such
Some more panda palooza!
- Zen Shorts
- Xander’s Panda Party
- Kung Fu Panda
- Turning Red: Novelization of the movie Turning Red
- Tall Tales With New Words
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, do you have any fun facts about pandas or stories to share? Which of these facts did you enjoy the most? What was new / known to you? Any panda related reads that you recommend? And which of the panda reads and suggestions here appeal to you? Do let me know.
This goes towards Thursday 13 where you can join in with other bloggers as we share 13 somethings each Thursday