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Nature

Popular Pandas

panda eating bamboo
Panda eating bamboo. Photo by wal_172619 from Pixabay.

The ever popular panda eating as it does for most of its life with a staple diet being 99% bamboo. The other 1% consists of eggs, small animals, carrion or they raid farmers fields for pumpkins, kidney beans and even pig food. Pandas will typically eat for around 10 to 15 hours a day !

The 1% plays an important part as eating only bamboo shoots and leaves do not provide much in the way of nutrition. They therefore need to consume a lot of bamboo and we are talking in the region of 20 to 40 lb (12 to 38 kg) of bamboo in a single day.

Young pandas eat the feces of their parents which introduces them with the much needed bacteria so essential in breaking down the vegetation diet. this is a relatively common thing in the animal kingdom and includes ostrich, elephants, koalas and hippos.

panda eyes
Panda eyes. Photo by skeeze from Pixabay.

Pandas have very good hearing and sense of smell, their eyes are not very good but they have an advantage at night as their pupils are not round as ours are but are like a cats, they have vertical slits which operate the same as a cats eyes at night. This may well facilitate the long hours required for eating.

The panda has 5 ‘fingers’ on each front paw but also has an extra bone from its wrist which is effectively a 6th finger. In the picture below it is seen supporting the bamboo and one can clearly see the other 5 fingers/claws.

panda extra thumb
Panda paw showing extra fingerunder piece of bamboo. Photo by Predrag Kezic from Pixabay.

Pandas are somewhat solitary animals, coming together to mate. A baby panda is pink and fur-less, about the length of a pencil. They are born blind and will only open their eyes after about 7 weeks of age. they start to get their coloring at around 3 weeks.

They will give birth to 1 or 2 cubs every 2 years and the cubs remain with the mother for 18 months before they move off on their own.

Panda teeth
Panda close up. Photo by einszweifrei from Pixabay.

Pandas do not hibernate but migrate to warmer areas during winter. they are surprisingly good swimmers and are as one might have expected, good at climbing trees.

there are currently approximately 1900 pandas in the wild which is a success story as in the 1970’s they numbered around 1000.

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