Giant Pandas 101 | Nat Geo Wild

if there's one animal that lives up to

the saying you are what you eat

it's probably the giant panda nearly

every aspect of a panda's life revolves

around bamboo giant pandas eat and eat

and eat pandas can spend more than half

of each day eating to understand why

pandas eat so much you need to look more

closely at what they eat bamboo a giant

woody grass is a very poor nutritional

source low in protein and high in fiber

that pandas can't digest well yet bamboo

comprises 99% of a pandas diet to

compensate pandas need to eat 20 to 40

pounds a day pandas have quite a bit in

common with carnivores a pandas

digestive system is more closely related

to that of a carnivore than an herbivore

which explains why they don't digest

plants very well fortunately they have

other adaptations that help them chow

down on bamboo stops including large

powerful jaws when they're not eating

pandas rest and rest and poop and poop

since they don't digest a bamboo very

well pandas end up passing a lot of it

as waste which unsurprisingly contains a

lot of undigested bamboo bits pandas

defecate more than 100 times a day

producing more than 40 pounds of waste

pandas even go number two while they're

napping and they spend a lot of time

napping as a way to compensate for their

low energy diet


pandas have tiny Cubs because of their

poor diet baby giant pandas are born

blind helpless and tiny weighs just five

ounces or about one thousandth the size

of their mouths of Altos dental mammals

panda cubs are the tiniest in comparison

to their mother why so small the mothers

diet plays a role due to our low

metabolism a panda mother has a

relatively low blood oxygen level so the

cub can get more oxygen outside the womb

pandas black and white fur may help them

camouflage once again we can look at a

panda's diet to help understand why it's

fur as the color it is pandas don't

store enough fat to hibernate like other

bears so they have to keep eating bamboo

all year round and since they're always

roaming in search of bamboo pandas are

unable to shed their fur quickly enough

to match their background like other

animals can so they're black and white

pattern may be sort of a compromise

white fur allows them to blend into

snowy backgrounds black fur allows them

to blend into shady forest backgrounds

historically pandas inhabited a much

wider range than they do today and faced

multiple predators so at the time they

may have relied more on their camouflage

ability today pandas are not at as high

risk from predators but rather from a

loss of bamboo the good news is that the

giant pandas conservation status was

recently upgraded from endangered to

vulnerable an estimated 1850 pandas

remain in the wild in China an increase

of 17 percent over the past decade

however pandas still face significant

threats tied closely to their food

source human development has driven

pandas into isolated fragmented mountain

regions restricting their access to


additionally climate change threatens to

eliminate more than 1/3 of the bamboo

habitat that pandas rely on by the end

of the century