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Giant Panda
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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ailuropoda
Species: melanoleuca

Height: 24 - 32 inches
Length: 60 - 72 inches
Weight: 176 - 352 lbs
Gestation: 97 - 163 days
Offspring: 1 - 2
Life Span: 25 years

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Giant Panda

Ailuropoda melanoleuca

The body of the giant panda is primarily white with distinctive black coloration on its eyes, ears, legs, and shoulders. Other than its markings, it looks like a brown bear. They are also known for feeding in an upright position. Sitting with their hind legs stretched out in front of them, pandas use their forelimbs to gather food. Food gathering is aided by an extension of their wrist bone, which acts as a thumb. Unlike some other bears, the giant panda does not hibernateWhat does hibernate mean?. Its primary food source, bamboo, is plentiful year round. This abundance eliminates the need for hibernationWhat does hibernation mean?. Also, bamboo does not have high enough fat content to prepare them for long months of little or no food. Despite their size, the giant panda is a very good climber. Giant pandas have thick, coarse slightly oily fur. This helps them survive in the cool, damp environment in which they live.

Giant pandas primarily eat bamboo but also eat leaves, insects, and rodents.

Giant pandas are found in Central and Western China. They live in bamboo forests at elevations from 8,500 to 11,500 feet.

Adult giant pandas have few enemies. Most panda deaths in the wild are the result of leopards eating young pandas. The primary danger to the giant panda is poaching. Currently pandas are one of the most endangered animals on Earth.

Pandas are solitaryWhat does solitary mean? creatures and usually only come together to mate. Also, young stay with their mothers for about 18 months. Male giant pandas are not territorial. However, females are and will vigorously defend their territory.

Giant pandas give birth to litters of 1-2 cubs. These cubs are born white but soon gain the distinctive marking patterns of the adult giant panda. Panda cubs stay with their mother for 18 months and then leave to live on their own.

Giant pandas are very nearsighted but have an excellent sense of hearing.

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