Giant Pandas

Native to the mountain ranges of central China, the giant panda is one of the most popular animals in the world. Take a minute to learn more about this amazing creature.

Big Eater
An adult panda can eat over 30 pounds of bamboo per day. (If a 100-pound boy ate like a panda, he’d finish 48 burgers before bedtime.)
Although the panda’s round face is definitely cute, it does not have “chubby” cheeks. The panda’s face is shaped by massive jaw muscles that it uses to crunch bamboo shoots.

Sleep Tight
Unlike most other bears, giant pandas do not hibernate. They do enjoy long naps, especially in the summer.

What’s in a Name?
At an average weight of 250 pounds, the giant panda is much smaller than a grizzly or polar bear. So why call it “giant”?
The red panda is a raccoon-like creature that also lives in China and eats bamboo. Although much smaller, it shares enough special traits with the giant panda that scientists thought they were related. So even though giant pandas aren’t hippopotamus-big, they are larger than the animal scientists most often compared them to.

Fur What Purpose?
Scientists do not know why pandas are black and white. It’s possible that their fur provides camouflage against the bright snow and dark shadows of their mountain habitat, but more research is needed.

A Rare Sight
If you want to see pandas in person, get ready for a long trip. Only four zoos in the United States—Atlanta, Memphis, San Diego and Washington DC—currently have giant pandas on display. A new panda exhibit is scheduled to open at the Toronto Zoo in May 2013.
Western zoos cannot legally own giant pandas. All pandas are on loan from the Chinese government, typically for 5- or 10-year periods.

For more fun facts about black-and-white animals, check out the April issue of Clubhouse magazine.

Copyright © 2013 by Focus on the Family. Photo © George Lu/ Used under Creative Commons License.