Panda Bear : The Panda is a large mammal which is about the same size as a Black Bear. Adult Pandas grow to be about 5-6 feet high. They will whey up to 276 pounds and males wheighing 10% to 20% more than females. With few other enimies other than people the lifespan of a wild Panda is about 25 years or more.
Giant pandas bears have a massive head, heavy body, short tail, rounded ears and plantigrade feet (i.e., both heel and toe make contact with the ground when walking in a manner similar to humans).
The Panda lives in six small areas located in China . In China they call the Panda “Xiongmao”, which means Giant Cat Bear. The Panda was believed to have magical powers that could ward off natural disasters and evil spirits. Writings about the Pandas can be traced back 3,000 years. They were even kept as pets by Chinese Emperors. The Panda was first introduced to the Western world in 1869 by a French missionary. He sent a pelt to a Museum in Paris.
The giant panda bear only exists today in six small areas located in inland China. The habitat, suitable for the bamboo on which it survives, is a cold, damp coniferous forest. The elevation ranges from 4,000 to 11,000 feet high. In most of the areas in which they still roam wild, they must compete with farmers who farm the river valleys and the lower slopes of the mountains.
Panda Bears eat over fifteen different kinds of Bamboo. Because of a inefficient intestinal system the Panda must feed for 12 to 16 hours a day, they can consume 22 to 40 pounds of Bamboo each day. When they eat fresh Bamboo shoots they eat about 84 pounds every day.
A sedentary bear who usually stays in a selected feeding area eating large amounts of bamboo, giant pandas generally move in a slow, determined manner. When startled, they will move at a slow trot to escape danger. Giant pandas, with their short claws, are capable of climbing trees very easily.
The head of a Panda is very large and has developed special molars for chewing plants. It has powerful muscles which extend from the top of it’s head to the jaws giving it the ability to crush very tough stalks. There esophagus has a though lining to protect the Panda from bamboo splinters. The stomach is protected too, with a thick muscular lining.
The basic fur color of the giant panda is white with black eye patches, ears, legs, feet, chest, and shoulders. Within its natural environment ( the deep forest and, at upper elevations, snow and rock) , its mottled coloring provides camouflage. There is also speculation that its striking colour pattern may be a clear message to other pandas to stay away.
The fur of the giant panda is thick and coarse. It consists of a coarse outer layer and a very dense, wooly-like underfur. To the touch, the fur feels oily. This oily protective coating helps protects pandas from the cool and damp climate in which the bear lives. These hides can be sold for $100,000 dollars. (I find that sickening that someone would buy a panda hide.)
In general, a home range will vary from 1.5 to 2.5 square mile). The range of an individual giant panda is shared with other bears. Female Pandas have been found to stay in very small areas, only 75 to 100 acres in size. Males have larger home ranges which overlap the home ranges of several females.
Female giant panda bears do not normally mature until they are 5 to 7 years of age. Mating begins in late-March and continues on into May. Similar to other bear species, the female stays in heat for only a short time, normally two to seven days. Unlike any other bear, males will often roar to announce their presence to receptive females. Females may mate with several males during the breeding season.
When cubs are born they are blind and very small. They weigh from 3 to 4 1/2 ounces whcih is about the size of a chipmunk. They start out with fine white fur and will get the correct colored fur within a month of birth. Giant panda cubs are eating bamboo by the time they are 5 to 6 months old and are fully weaned by the time they are 9 months of age. At one year of age, the cubs normally weigh about 75 pounds of bamboo.
Giant pandas are one of the four bear species who do not hibernate. The reasons for this are twofold. First, the natural food source of these bears is not sufficiently high in calories and protein to allow them to put on sufficient fat resources to last a lengthy period of hibernation. Second, they live in a habitat zone where food is available on a year round basis.
The Panda is such a majestic creature. It is sad to think that there may not be Pandas around to much longer. Even sadder is the fact that we are the cause. Until people relize that Pandas are such great creatures and that they deserve home, the Pandas will be in danger of extinction.
Interesting Panda Facts :
- Pandas are almost becoming extinct. They are endangered because people are cutting down the bamboo that pandas eat to make farms.
- Pandas can eat more than 10,000 kilograms of bamboo a day.
- The mother panda can only take care of the baby panda for half a year (6 months).
- People can’t tell if a baby panda is a girl or a boy for four years.
- The mother panda only has one baby every two years.
- Pandas have black on their eyes.
- Pandas live in China on the mountainsides.
- If all the bamboo is covered in snow the pandas will eat little mice or uncovered leaves.
- Pandas are pink when they are born.
- Panda mothers nurse their babies. Pandas are mammals.
- Pandas are black and white.
- The Giant Panda is found exclusively in China where it inhabits mountain forests that are dense with bamboo and conifers. They thrive in altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet in cold, damp forest. Which makes them accustomed to torrential rains and dense mist throughout the year. Their habitat exists in only 6 small areas of inland China.
- There are thought to be less than 1,000 individuals in the wild.
- There are about 110 pandas in captivity, mainly in China. There are seven in the United States- Zoo Atlanta, and The National Zoo each have a pair. The pair in San Diego also have a small cub. There are three females at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City. There are also pandas in Japan, Spain, Germany, France and South Korea.
- Their numbers are deceasing due to dwindling habitat and their poor reproductive capabilities, both in the wild and in captivity.
- The average Giant Panda consumes between 20 and 40 lbs of food per day. They can spend up to 16 hours eating.
- These black-and-white bears eat primarily bamboo although they also have been known to eat other plants, fish, pika and other small rodents.
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