11 Giant Panda Facts For Kids
Giant pandas are one of the cutest, cuddliest large animals that exist on the planet today. Their friendly faces almost always seem to invite a smile and their natural tendency to sit while eating and peeling away bamboo to munch on can almost be humorous to see. Giant pandas are also one of the most endangered creatures on the planet today. By knowing these cool facts, we can all help to understand this beautiful black and white animals a little bit more.
1. They Are Always Hungry
The average Giant Panda spends almost half of the day eating bamboo. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the bamboo being eaten has very little nutritional value. It would be like if you chose to eat saltine crackers every day for the rest of your life! Because there isn’t a lot of good stuff in the bamboo, the Giant Panda is forced to eat hundreds of pounds of food every day.
2. They Go Potty…A Lot
Every animal needs to go to the bathroom, but because the Giant Panda is always eating, it often needs to go to the bathroom. On any given day, these big bears can wind up leaving over 60 pounds of waste. That’s why it is important to watch your step when you are wandering around their habitat. There’s a good chance that you’ll step into a smelly present!
3. They Have Crushers Instead Of Chompers
The teeth on a Giant Panda is a lot different than your teeth. All of their teeth are a lot like your molars – those big back teeth of yours. They are flat and perfect for mashing and grinding things. That’s how these animals eat all of that bamboo. They crush down the stems, leaves, and shoots as they hold the plant in their front paws. That’s right – a Giant Panda has a wrist bone that acts like a thumb so they can grip things. This is just another way that they are a very unique animal.
4. Giant Pandas Don’t Really Like People Much
These animals aren’t necessarily mean, though you wouldn’t want to find yourself between a mama and its cub. They are more shy than anything. You won’t find a Giant Panda wandering into a village in China just because it feels like doing it. They keep to themselves and this restricts their natural habitat. When human encroachment into the wild is taken into account, their habitats are even placed into further risk.
5. There’s Only About 1,000 In The Wild Right Now
Giant Pandas don’t have many cubs. Most mama pandas are going to have just 1 or 2 cubs over the course of her life. Even when a cub is born, the odds are that the mom panda is going to outlive her cubs. This makes it very difficult for the species to continue thriving. Mothers who have more than one cub at a time won’t usually look after all of her cubs. She’ll care for one completely, but the other one often ends up not surviving because of the neglect. It takes about 1 year for a baby panda to be ready to live on its own.
6. They Could Win Climbing Competitions
Giant Pandas have to sit in order to eat, so that makes it seem like they are slow bears. That isn’t true at all. Pandas are surprisingly fast when they need to be. Their best moves are to swim or to climb up a tree. They can probably climb a tree faster than you can climb a tree!
7. It Takes More Than One Kind Of Bamboo
Since just one Giant Panda can eat up to 60 pounds of bamboo every day, the natural habitat of these animals needs to have at least two different kinds of bamboo present for it to survive. Otherwise the bamboo will go out of season, not have a chance to recover to grow some more, and the Giant Pandas would end up starving.
8. Giant Pandas Are To China As The Bald Eagle Is To The United States
Giant Pandas are a national symbol and treasure of China. Their coloring is also reflective of the traditional believe that two different opinions make one complete idea. This philosophy, which is called yin and yang, is said to be demonstrated peacefully within the Giant Panda because of how peaceful and shy they typically happen to be.
9. Hunting Is Illegal, But It Still Happens Anyway
People like Giant Pandas so much that they’re willing to pay for their skins as a status symbol. Many people will pay over $100,000 to get a panda skin rug for their home. That’s a lot of money to pay for what is basically a bunch of real-life Facebook likes. Because there is so much money, many hunters are willing to accept the harsh penalties of hurting a Giant Panda because they can get wealthy very quickly.
10. Only Humans Hunt Down Adult Giant Pandas
When an animal is at the very top of a food chain, it is called an “Apex Predator.” That’s what the Giant Panda would be… if it didn’t mostly eat bamboo. Even so, there aren’t any animals that hunt Giant Pandas out in the wild when they are hungry. In the worst case scenario, a small cub on its own and unprotected might get taken, but that is about it. For the Giant Panda, life is pretty stress-free.
11. Giant Pandas Can Actually Smell Bamboo From A Long Way Away
The Giant Panda doesn’t have very good eyesight, but it has an incredibly good sense of smell. They can locate fields of bamboo and their favorite eating grounds just by the way it smells. Imagine being able to find your way home from school just by the smell of dinner cooking in your oven… that’s what life is like as a Giant Panda!
Giant Pandas are generally peaceful, loving creatures that just want to be left alone. By knowing these facts about them, we can all learn how to preserve their habitats and give them the home that they deserve.