Life Cycle Of A Panda
A panda is one of the cutest animals in the world, which it is also endangered in nature. Contrary to the earlier belief that pandas were raccoons, pandas are actually a type of bear. They do have an unusual habitat which does not confirm the fact that they are bears. Another factor that led scientists to believe that pandas were not bears was because they share their territories peacefully without any attacks which are not the characteristics of a bear.
Pandas are marked by their black ears and distinguished "eye patches" on the face. You'll also notice many have black hind legs. Putting them up against the American Black Bear, Pandas are exactly the same size. Of course, it's easy to tell them apart with their black shoulders and coat of fur which stretches to the paws. If you were to pet a Panda, you would discover that it has a double coat. This coat might seem a bit oily but this is for deflecting water since they are usually found in environments that are misty. Even though they move slowly, you should never underestimate a Panda. They are still very dangerous, much like other bears.
Currently, Pandas are known to eat Bamboo but what most people don't know is that they are 99% carnivore. They have been recorded eating fish, birds, reptiles, and other small mammals in the wild. Most of their time is spent eating Bamboo. In fact, they will eat up to twenty-five to thirty pounds of Bamboo each day.
Panda Breeding Periods
The pandas reach sexual maturity at the age of five. They retain their capacity to breed until least the next 15 years of age. The female panda is estrus only once a year, but remains so for a time period of one to three weeks. They are located by males by their unique scents and their mating calls.
The gestation period of females ranges from 90 to 160 days. Litter size is generally one to three cubs but more the number of cubs, lesser are the chances of survival for them. The female generally chooses the strongest cub in the litter and allows the others to die. This may seem harsh to you and I but this is the lifestyle of pandas.
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The Panda Cubs
The newborn cubs weigh between approximately 3 to five ounces, six inches in length, hairless and are dependent on their mothers for survival. Their eyes remain closed till they reach an age of eight weeks. The cubs are nursed by their mothers till they are nine months old, but leave their families once they are two years of age.
Pandas as young adults
The adults who have reached two years of age wander through the territory till they are sexually mature to breed. Once they are matured they will look for partners to start their life with. They usually move in groups and play together.
World's oldest Panda
The world's oldest Panda lived to be 34 and had died in 2012. His name was Bao Bao and he lived a happy life in the zoo, protected by the caretakers of the zoo. This zoo was located in Berlin and at the time, Bao Bao was not eating well.
It all started when China had given Bao Bao to the West German chancellor in 1980, Helmut Schmidt. After Yan Yan ( a female Panda at their zoo) had passed away, Bao Bao was the only panda left back in 2007. We are pretty sure Bao Bao had lived a long life due to his safe enclosure.
Giant Adult Panda Bears
The adult pandas are those that have reached the sexual maturity and are ready to mate with their partners. The female does not mate while she cares for her cub, thus the mating takes place every two or three years for an individual female panda. The males are tolerant of their cubs and also of the females and this is the factor which distinguishes them from other bears.
The average lifespan of the pandas are yet to be determined but some scientists have mentioned it to be 30 years of age while others have concluded that it is of 20 years.
Facts About Pandas
Here are a few interesting facts about this cute and cuddly mammals.
- A Panda will eat almost half of the day. That's 12 hours each day!
- They are able to climb up to 13,000 feet high.
- Wild pandas are only found within China's mountain areas.
- They are classified as omnivores, only eating Bamboo.
- Their scientific name is "Ailuropoda melanoleuca".
- Pandas can weight up to a staggering 300 pounds.
- Scientists do not classify them as "bears" because of their habits.
- With only 1,000 wild Pandas left, they are expected to go extinct soon.
- These creatures are great swimmers.
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