1. The lifespan of pandas in the wild is approximately 20 years. However, in captivity, they can live to be 25-30 years old.
2. The giant panda has been on the endangered species list since 1990. The most significant threat to them are poaching and habitat destruction.
3. Pandas have always been a symbol of peace in China. For example, centuries ago, warring tribes would raise a flag with a panda on it to stop a battle or call a truce.
4. With just over 1,000 left in the world, giant pandas are on the brink of extinction. Scientists are hoping to increase the wild panda population to 5,000 by 2025.
5. Pandas can stand upright, but their short hind legs aren’t strong enough to support their hefty bodies. A panda’s bones are twice as heavy as the bones of other animals the same size.
6. Pandas cannot run fast – a slow trot is as fast as they go. The fastest bear is the black bear, which can run at 35 miles per hour, which is just as fast as a horse or deer.
7. Female pandas ovulate once a year. They are fertile only two or three days of the year.
8. Mother pandas in captivity give birth to twins more often than mother pandas in the wild do.
9. More than half of newborn pandas die from diseases or from being accidentally crushed by their mother.
10. It takes five years for a female cub to become an adult and seven years for a male cub to do so.
11. Pandas have plantigrade feet, meaning their entire foot touches the ground when walking, which is similar to the way other bears, humans, and rodents walk. Other animals, such as cats, dogs, and horses walk with their weight on their toes.
12. Panda fur is worth $60,000-100,000 on the black market.
13. Although a giant panda’s fur looks silky and soft, it’s actually quite thick and wiry. The hair of an adult panda can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long.
14. Under its fur, the skin of a giant panda is black where its fur is black, and pink where its fur is white.
15. Panda researchers have counted 11 different panda calls – and four of them are used only when searching for a mate.
16. Pandas have been on Earth from two to three million years.
17. A panda spends 14-16 hours a day eating bamboo.
18. A giant panda can peel and eat a bamboo shoot in about 40 seconds flat.
19. A panda’s throat has a special lining to protect it from bamboo splinters.
20. Giant pandas have a very good sense of smell. Even at night, they can find the best bamboo stalks by scent.
21. Giant pandas have evolved a unique thumb, which allows them to hold bamboo. This thumb is actually a modified wrist bone.
22. Most of the food that a giant panda eats is not digested. In the spring, an adult giant panda can produce about 28 kg of droppings in 24 hours.
23. The gestation period for pandas varies from 97-163 days. This wide range is due to delayed implantation, which means that after a giant panda has become pregnant, the cub will only start to grow if the mother gets enough food. Once the cub has started to develop, it will take about 45-60 days before it’s born.
24. It’s very rare to see more than one panda at a time in the wild. They cannot afford to use energy competing with others for territory, food, and mates.
25. Adult pandas are so large that they don’t actually have any natural enemies. However, snow leopards will prey on vulnerable panda cubs or old and sick adult pandas.
26. Keeping a single panda in a zoo is expensive. A panda costs five times more to keep than the next most expensive animal, an elephant.
27. Giant pandas have been the symbol of the international conservation organization WWF, or the World Wide Fund for Nature, since it was founded in 1961.
28. Giant pandas don’t hibernate as their bamboo diet doesn’t allow them to build up enough fat reserves for the winter.
29. Pandas have sometimes been seen rolling down hills. While they might just be playing, they might also be trying to dislodge twigs from their fur.
30. Giant pandas have 41 teeth. Like humans, they have two sets of teeth in their lifetime.