Scientific Name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Weight at Birth: 4 to 8 ounces
Length at Birth: 6 to 8 inches
Adult Weight: 165 to 353 pounds
Adult Length: 4 to 5 feet
The dramatic difference in size between newborn and mother is like going from a stick of butter to a professional football player.
Adult Diet: 25 to 40 pounds of bamboo per day and when available fish, flowers and small animals. In captivity, they also eat apples, milk, eggs, ground meat, and Panda Bread. Get facts on Bamboo >>
Life Span in Captivity: 30 to 35 years
Life Span in the Wild: 18 to 20 years
Life Stages: neonates (0–365 days), juveniles (12- 18 months), subadults (19 months-4.5 years), and adults (over 4.5 years).
Most female pandas give birth to twins. Since they can only nurse one, the weaker one is abandoned and dies. The Wolong and Bifengxia Panda Centers have been quite successful at “cub swapping,” which has increased the survival rate of both twins dramatically. Cub Swapping is when the caretakers leave one cub with the mother for her to care for and place one in an incubator. In the nursery, the staffs are there 24 hours a day 7 days a week. After a week, the cubs are exchanged so both cubs will bond with their mother and receive her care.
Pandas Cannot Store Fat so they do not hibernate; therefore, they eat about 14 hours a day.
Pandas Have a 6th Toe. It is actually an elongated wrist bone that acts as an opposable thumb used to grasp bamboo.
Pandas are Solitary Creatures. They also have poor eyesight and communicate mostly by leaving scent marks. When they do vocalize, it is not with a roar like other bears but with a bleat.
Natural Habitat: The wild pandas live in the coniferous forests with dense undergrowth of bamboo at elevations of 5,000 to 11,000 feet. Rain or dense mist throughout the year shrouds these remote forests in heavy clouds. In the winter snow is common. Their range is limited to the mountains in Southwestern China.
Current Population: Scientists estimate the population to be around 1600.
US Zoos That Currently Have Pandas: San Diego Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Memphis Zoo, and Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Zoos in other Countries that have Pandas: Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea, Germany, France, Mexico, Thailand, Spain, and Austria. Australia will soon be joining this list.