Country: China Category: Wildlife By: Kiki
The Giant Panda is a bear native to central-western and southwestern China. The Giant Panda was previously thought to be a member of the raccoon family. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though belonging to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda has a diet which is 99% bamboo. The Giant Panda may eat other foods such as honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, and bananas when available.

The Giant Panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. It once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing, and other development now restrict the Giant Panda to the mountains.

The Giant Panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. According to the latest report, China has 239 Giant Pandas in captivity and another 27 living outside the country. It is also estimated that around 1,590 pandas are currently living in the wild. However, a 2006 study estimated that there might be as many as 2,000 to 3,000 Giant Pandas in the wild. Though reports show that the numbers of wild pandas are on the rise, the International Union for Conservation of Nature believes there is not enough certainty to remove the Giant Panda from the endangered animal list.

While the dragon has historically served as China's national emblem, in recent decades the Giant Panda has also served as an emblem for the country. Its image appears on a large number of modern Chinese commemorative silver, gold, and platinum coins. Though the Giant Panda is often assumed to be docile, it has been known to attack humans, presumably out of irritation rather than predatory behavior.

Adult pandas measure around 1.5 m long and around 75 cm tall at the shoulder. Males are 1020% larger than females. Males can weigh up to 150 kg (330 pounds). Females are generally smaller than males, and can occasionally weigh up to 125 kg (275 pounds). The Giant Panda has a body shape typical of bears. It has black fur on its ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, and shoulders. The rest of the animal's coat is white. Although scientists do not know why these unusual bears are black and white, some speculate that the bold coloring provides effective camouflage in its shade-dappled snowy and rocky surroundings. The Giant Panda's thick, wooly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat. The Giant Panda has large molar teeth and strong jaw muscles for crushing tough bamboo. The Giant Panda's paw has a "thumb" and five fingers; the "thumb" is actually a modified sesamoid bone, which helps the Giant Panda to hold bamboo while eating. Stephen Jay Gould used this example in his book of essays concerned with evolution and biology, The Panda's Thumb.

The Giant Panda has the second longest tail in the bear family, with one that is 46 inches (150 mm) long. The longest belongs to the Sloth Bear. The Giant Panda can usually live to be 2530 years old in captivity.

In the wild, the Giant Panda is a terrestrial animal and primarily spends its life roaming and feeding in the bamboo forests of the Qinling Mountains and in the hilly Sichuan Province. Though generally alone, each adult has a defined territory and females are not tolerant of other females in their range. Pandas communicate through vocalization and scent marking such as clawing trees or spraying urine. The Giant Panda is able to climb and take shelter in hollow trees or rock crevices but does not establish permanent dens. For this reason, pandas do not hibernate, which is similar to other subtropical mammals, and will instead move to elevations with warmer temperatures. Pandas rely primarily on spatial memory rather than visual memory.

Social encounters occur primarily during the brief breeding season in which pandas in proximity to one another will gather. After mating, the male leaves the female alone to raise the cub.

Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivore, the Giant Panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo. However, the Giant Panda still has the digestive system of a carnivore and does not have the ability to digest cellulose efficiently, and thus derives little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. The average Giant Panda eats as much as 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 pounds) of bamboo shoots a day. Because the Giant Panda consumes a diet low in nutrition, it is important for it to keep its digestive tract full. The limited energy input imposed on it by its diet has affected the panda's behavior. The Giant Panda tends to limit its social interactions and avoids steeply sloping terrain in order to limit its energy expenditures.

Two of the panda's most distinctive features, its large size and its round face, are adaptations to its bamboo diet. Panda researcher Russell Ciochon observed that, [much] like the vegetarian gorilla, the low body surface area to body volume [of the giant panda] is indicative of a lower metabolic rate. This lower metabolic rate and a more sedentary lifestyle allow the giant panda to subsist on nutrient poor resources such as bamboo. Similarly, the Giant Panda's round face is the result of powerful jaw muscles, which attach from the top of the head to the jaw. Large molars crush and grind fibrous plant material.

For many decades the precise taxonomic classification of the Giant Panda was under debate as both it and the distantly related Red Panda share characteristics of both bears and raccoons. However, molecular studies suggest that the Giant Panda is a true bear and part of the Ursidae family, though it differentiated early in history from the main ursine stock. The Giant Panda's closest ursine relative is the Spectacled Bear of South America. Disagreement still remains about whether or not the Red Panda belongs in Ursidae, the raccoon family Procyonidae, or in its own family, Ailuridae. The Giant Panda has been referred to as a living fossil.

The Red Panda and the Giant Panda, although completely different in appearance, share several features. They both live in the same habitat, they both live on a similar bamboo diet, and they both share a unique enlarged bone called the pseudo thumb, which allows them to grip the bamboo shoots they eat.

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You're a real deep thienkr. Thanks for sharing.
December 05, 2016



Awesome you should think of sohimteng like that
December 05, 2016



Ppl like you get all the brians. I just get to say thanks for he answer.
November 05, 2014



AJ: Hey Lin Ping, way to go, loved your fall from the tree. You really are soienhmtg else!LP: (giggles) I wanted to surprise Mommie but I forgot how big I had grown. The branch couldn't hold me.AJ: And you got to go to that cool place to get photos of your insides.LP: I was sleeping most of the time, they gave me a sharpie. Ouch!YZ: Mommie wont let me climb very far yet.AJ: Yes, she has been talking to my Mommie, I think she is learning a few things for Da Mommie Monster.YZ: Normally Mommie is calm and serene, now she is playful and plays tricks on me.LP: My Mommie too, she is always holding me down, dragging me and tumbling me.YZ: Yeah, and my Mommie uses all four paws and treats me like a ball .AJ: But the girlies like it and they will go ooooooh and awwwww!'YZ: Girlies?LP: I think Yunnie is too young AJ. Hee Hee. Wait a few more months more then you can tell him.AJ: Maybe his daddy Gao Gao will! I am the Son of Yang, born to bless the beauties.LP: ROFLOL!YZ: I dont understand ..AJ: You soon will, just enjoy the milk bar while it lasts.LP: My Mommie and I have been eating boo together. I like that.AJ: I love attacking her while she is eating her boo!YZ: YES! I learnt some of your moves and have attacked her butt and neck folds. Not the ears, leave the ears alone' my Mommie is vain about her perfectly shaped ears, hee hee!LP: gtg, my keeper wants to play. I think it is bath time.YZ: Bath? YuCK.AJ: bb, cya.YZ: Tomorrow, log on same time?AJ: When the Mommie Monsters are asleep, hee hee.YZ: Panda Cubs Unite!AJ: Panda Cubs Unite!
November 04, 2014
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