Created By: Brianna Brullo
The giant panda has an insatiable appetite for bamboo. A typical
animal eats half the day—a full 12 out of every 24 hours—and relieves
itself dozens of times a day. It takes 28 pounds (12.5 kilograms) of
bamboo to satisfy a giant panda's daily dietary needs, and it hungrily
plucks the stalks with elongated wrist bones that function rather like
thumbs. Pandas will sometimes eat birds or rodents as well.
pandas live only in remote, mountainous regions in central China. These
high bamboo forests are cool and wet—just as pandas like it. They may
climb as high as 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) to feed on higher slopes in
the summer season.
Pandas are often seen eating in a relaxed
sitting posture, with their hind legs stretched out before them. They
may appear sedentary, but they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient
Giant pandas are solitary. They have a highly developed
sense of smell that males use to avoid each other and to find females
for mating in the spring. After a five-month pregnancy, females give
birth to a cub or two, though they cannot care for both twins. The blind
infants weigh only 5 ounces (142 grams) at birth and cannot crawl until
they reach three months of age. They are born white, and develop their
much loved coloring later.
There are only about 1,000 giant pandas
left in the wild. Perhaps 100 pandas live in zoos, where they are
always among the most popular attractions. Much of what we know about
pandas comes from study of these zoo animals, because their wild cousins
are so rare and elusive.
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