Giant Panda Facts

Giant Pandas are known as “Living Fossil” and “National Treasure in China”. Visiting giant pandas is the must-do experience when you are in Chengdu and other destinations of China. BUT, how much do you know the endangered species? To help you get better understanding about the cuddly bears, you can check some giant panda facts listed below.

Giant Panda Features

The giant panda, Da Xiong Mao in Chinese, is also known as panda bear or panda. Panda bear features are unique. Giant pandas have a distinctive black and white coat, with black fur around eyes and on their ears, muzzle, legs, arms and shoulders. Their thick, wooly coat helps to keep them warm in their cool mountain homes. Panda’s paw has a “thumb” and five fingers and the thumb is a modified sesamoid bone, helping to hold bamboo while eating.

Habitat of Giant Panda

Dujiangyan Giant Base

Most of the remaining wild pandas live in the Minshan and Qinling Mountains, spreading through the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces. As for travelers, they can see giant pandas in some zoos and parks, like Beijing Zoo, Shanghai Zoo, Chongqing Zoo, Chengdu Zoo, Guilin Zoo, Shanghai Wildlife Park, Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park, Hong Kong Ocean Park, Dalian Forest Zoo, Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, etc.

Moreover, since Chengdu is known as “Hometown of Giant Pandas”, travelers can see giant pandas in and around Chengdu by visiting the well-organized panda bases - Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (short for Chengdu Panda Base), Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base.

Giant Panda Population

According to the statistics in the late of 2015, there are about 218 captive giant pandas and about 1864 wild giant pandas in China. Though the number of giant pandas is going up, pandas are still on the endangered species list. The most critical factor is the destruction of their natural habitat.

Life Span

The giant panda lifespan is difficult to determine in the wild. Studies indicate that the average estimate is between 15 and 25 years. The lifespan of wild pandas are shorter than captive pandas. The captive pandas are about 30 years old or even longer.

Weight and Size

Panda is 5 to 6 feet in length and 2 to 3 feet in height for males and slightly less for females. The tail reaches four to seven inches in length. Males weigh about 175 to 250 pounds and females weigh about 150 to 225 pounds. The giant panda weight depends on many factors including diet and environment.

Food & Diet

Giant Panda Diet

The giant panda has a very specialized diet consisting 99% of bamboo. The pandas eat all parts of bamboo including the stalk, leaves, shoots and roots. Giant panda still has the digestive system of a carnivore, as well as carnivore-specific genes, while bamboo contains highly fibrous and very little nutritional value so giant pandas should eat 12~38 kilograms every day to meet their energy needs. With about 1% of their diet, giant pandas eat other plants and even meat. Every day, panda will spend about 12 to 16 hours peeling the bamboo and eating in all kinds of postures - sitting, lying flat, leaning.

In zoos, parks and panda bases, giant pandas eat bamboo, sugar cane, rice gruel, a special high-fiber biscuit, carrots, apples and sweet potatoes. Giant pandas are very active during the feeding time, travelers can catch the best time to see the active pandas. Below we offered the timetable of giant panda for your reference.

21:00~02:00 Night sleep
02:00~08:00 Breakfast
08:00~10:30 Morning rest
10:30~11:00 Playing time
11:00~12:00 Lunch
12:00~14:30 Noon break
14:30~21:00 Supper

Please note: real situation may slightly different and if you want to visit active pandas, please check it with your experienced travel consultant or local travel guide. China Discovery suggests you go early in the morning before 08:00 AM to have close contact with the lovely bears.

Mating and Breeding

Panda Breeding

The captive female pandas reach sexual maturity at four years old and the male pandas at six years old. Usually, the pandas live alone with separated areas while during their estrus, they live together. In spring during March to May, the female ones are in heat and male pandas attract female ones by yawping, climbing trees, fighting with other male pandas, etc.

The pregnancy of giant panda is about 83 to 200 days and they usually give birth to baby pandas in August. The baby pandas are born blind who are totally helpless and dependent. At birth baby pandas weigh less than six ounces and are less than six inches in length. The mother panda will devote her entire day taking care of her baby. She will caress her newborn, clean her with her tongue, and never let her out of her sight. In the Sunshine Nursery of Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center, travelers can see the baby pandas in red being under take care by the keepers.

Recommended Panda Tours

>> 1 Day Chengdu Panda Tour (Chengdu)

>> 1 Day Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Tour (Dujiangyan)

>> 1 Day Kung Fu Panda Tour with Mount Qingcheng (Dujiangyan)

>> 2 Days Dujiangyan Panda Tour (Dujiangyan)

>> 4 Days Dujiangyan Panda Tour with Chengdu (Chengdu / Dujiangyan / Chengdu)

>> 2 Days Wolong Panda Volunteer at Shenshuping Base (Wolong)

>> 4 Days Ultimate PANDA Tour for Panda Fans (Chengdu / Dujiangyan / Chengdu)

If you have got any questions or ideas, please feel free to contact our professional travel consultants, and they are here to help!

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Mama and Baby of Panda
10 Days Golden Triangle Tour with Panda Fun

Shanghai / Chengdu / Xian / Beijing

Tiananmen Square Family Tour
10 Days Classic China Family Tour with Panda Fun

Beijing / Xian / Chengdu / Shanghai

The Lesser Three Gorges
17 Days China Paradise Tour with Tibet Discovery & Yangtze Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Lhasa / Chengdu / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Yichang / Shanghai

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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