The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca) lives in the bamboo forests
of southwestern China. This type of panda is endangered and to this day
"there are only around a thousand pandas left" (http//:panda.org, 1).
"Adult giant pandas have a length of 160 to 180
centimeters (5/14 to 6 feet). The weight of an adult
male giant panda is normally between 80 and 125
kilograms (176 and 276 pounds) with males
typically weighing about 10% to 20% more than
females--about the same size as the American black
bear. However, unlike the black bear, giant pandas
do not hibernate and cannot walk on their hind
legs" (Etling 1).
"Giant pandas have a massive head, heavy body, short tail
(approximately 5 inches) rounded ears and plantigrade feet" (Etling 1). Giant
pandas have the tendency to "develop large molars which are specifically
designed to crush fibrous plant material" (Etling 1).
The giant pandas fur "is thick and coarse; it consists of a coarse outer
layer and a very dense, wooly-like underfur" (Etling 1). The fur of the panda
is oily and "protects pandas from the cool and damp climate in which [they
live in]" (Etling 1). Their fur color is mainly white with patches of black on
its legs, ears, back, and its eyes.
This picture shows the black color pattern on pandas' fur.
The life span of an average panda bear is 15 years of age. Some
pandas even live into their twenties and those kept captive may even reach
the age of thirty. "Dudu, the oldest known captive giant panda recently died
in China at the ripe old age of thirty-seven" (Etling 4).
Pandas bodies are large and it is difficult for them to get away from
enemies or even just to get around.
"Giant pandas generally move in a slow,
determined manner. When startled, they will move
at a slow trot to escape danger. Giant pandas, with
their sharp claws, are capable of climbing trees
very easily" (Etling 1). They climb the trees in
order to get away from anything that they feel is a
threat to them.
"Although giant pandas rarely fight they will let other's know of their
disapproval by grunting and with body language" (Etling 4).
"Giant pandas signify aggression by lowering their
heads and staring at their opponents. To show
submissiveness, a giant panda will put its head
between its front legs, often hiding its eye-patches
with its paws. At close range, aggression is
signaled by a swipe with a paw, or by a
low-pitched growl or bark" (Etling 4).
"Giant pandas are by nature solitary animals, most of the time avoiding
direct contact with others of their own kind" (Etling 3). "In the spring,
between March and May, the females must seek each other out in order to
mate" (Etling 3). "Pandas are known to begin mating at six years of age"
"In the months of August or September, one or two
cubs are born in a sheltered den made of twigs and
leaves. The mother will hold the cub to its chest
with both paws until the youngster squirms away.
This is to ensure that the cub is alive and well. The
young cub will become the mother's constant
companion for the next 18 months until the cub is
able to live on its own" (Etling 3).
When panda cubs are born they usually "weigh 3 to 5 ounces or about
4-5 grams each (1/900th of the mothers weight)" (Etling 1). When the baby
pandas are born, they are blind and hairless. After a short 10 days, the cubs
eventually grow hair and gain sight.
The pandas eating diet is very basic. There are 25 different types of
bamboo that pandas eat. When the panda eats bamboo, the panda usually sits
in an upright position holding the bamboo out in front of it.
This picture demonstrates how the giant panda eats bamboo.
"The differing varieties of bamboo go through
periodic die-offs as part of their renewal cycle. The
bamboo, at the end of...
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