10 things you didn’t know about the Giant Panda

07/03/2011 / By / , , , / Post a Comment
A gentle giant and poster boy for endangered species everywhere, watching pandas close-up has got be one of the classic wildlife encounters – it’s a humbling sight to see them move around their naturalistic enclosures like big black and white teddy bears, munching on bamboo, perhaps giving each other a gentle wrestle.

Here’s the lowdown on these majestic animals, so you can impress your family with your dazzling panda-knowledge when you visit Chengdu’s breeding centre.

  1. A panda’s paw has six digits – five fingers and an opposable thumb (actually an enlarged wrist bone).
  2. There are thought to be less than 1,000 giant pandas in the wild, with a little over 100 in captivity.
  3. They’re found in a few mountain ranges in central China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces.
  4. They inhabit mountain forests that are dense with bamboo and conifers.
  5. Because of their inefficient intestinal system, giant pandas have to feed for around 15 hours every day, with bamboo accounting for 99 percent of their diet.
  6. Giant pandas are one of the few species of bears that do not hibernate – it is unable to store sufficient fat because of its diet.
  7. They live at relatively high altitudes (between (1,500 and 3,000 metres). Their thick, oily fur helps keep them warm.
  8. Male pandas are known as boars and females are sows.
  9. They’re solitary creatures, but if you’re lucky enough to see a group of them, the collective noun is sleuth.
  10. At birth, an infant panda is 1/900th its mother’s size.

So there you go – memorise the above and instant panda expertise awaits!

Feature image c/o Nathan Rupert, Flickr

Put your panda knowledge to the test

Meet Giant Pandas in Sichuan on Peregrine’s Panda-monium Family Adventure.

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