25 panda facts that aren’t related to politics

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If you’re feeling exhausted by politics and the presidential election cycle, we have the cutest distraction imaginable: 25 must-know facts about the most adorable bears in the world. So sit back, relax and take a moment to enjoy these adorable photos along with some facts from panda preservation organization Pandas International

Ready for some panda facts?

Baby panda bears
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

1. Pandas may start tiny …

A newborn panda weighs just 4-8 ounces, but adult pandas end up weighing somewhere between 165 and 350 pounds.

Panda in a tree
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

2. Pandas live longer in captivity

The average panda will live 15-20 years in the wild, and 25-35 years in captivity.

Giant panda eating bamboo
kynny / iStock

3. Pandas LOVE bamboo

The average panda will eat between 25 and 40 pounds of bamboo in a single day. 

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Panda in a tree
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

4. There aren’t very many pandas left

Scientists currently estimate the population of wild Giant Pandas at only 1,864, making them a seriously vulnerable species.

Pandas playing together
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

5. Fewer pandas live in captivity

There are approximately 600 pandas living in zoos and wildlife parks around the world.

Panda on a stump
Karin de Mamiel / iStock

6. Pandas have long been seen as special

During the Han dynasty, pandas lived in the gardens of the emperors and were believed to have mystical powers.

Panda eating a piece of bamboo
kynny / iStock

7. The panda is still beloved

The panda is considered a “National Treasure” by the people of China.

A panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
lsmirnov / iStock

8. The first panda in the United States

While visiting China, First Lady Pat Nixon said she loved the pandas. In response China sent the first panda to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., as a gift to Mrs. Nixon.

Panda being cute
Dmytro Kvasnetskyy / iStock

9. Pandas don’t just eat bamboo

Giant Pandas will eat fish, flowers and small animals in the wild, not just bamboo. In captivity they often consume milk, eggs, ground meat and specially formulated vitamin bread. Apples and carrots are also a favorite treat.Skip Ad

Panda with bamboo
Dmytro Kvasnetskyy / iStock

10. Those cheeks aren’t just cute

The puffy cheeks that are so cute are actually powerful muscles that allow pandas to chew through even the toughest bamboo stalks.

Panda eating bamboo
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

11. Pandas don’t hibernate

Unlike other bears, pandas do not hibernate, so they also do not store fat. That’s why pandas will spend up to 14 hours a day eating.

A group of pandas
dangdumrong / iStock

12. Pandas look almost identical to each other

It is difficult to tell panda bears apart since their markings are essentially the same. Caretakers often identify individual pandas by small markings around their mouth or muzzle.

Panda cub
dangdumrong / iStock

13. Waddle, waddle, roll …

Pandas are slow moving and rarely move faster than a walk. They also can appear to be rather clumsy, making them even more adorable.

Panda cubs at play
pniesen / iStock

14. Pandas are always molting

Unlike other animals that lose their fur seasonally, pandas are molting constantly, which can give their fur a patchy appearance. 

Panda holding bamboo
dangdumrong / iStock

15. Pandas have opposable thumbs

Pandas front paws are very different from other bears. Their sixth toe is essentially an opposable thumb used for grasping bamboo. 

Panda bear
Rocter / iStock

16. Pandas have a language

Researchers have decoded up to 13 different panda vocalizations.

Red panda
yanjf / iStock

17. The red panda

The lesser panda, or red panda, is absolutely adorable, but is not related to the giant panda. In fact, it’s not even a bear.

Mother and baby panda
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

18. Baby pandas don’t stay at home very long

Panda cubs will stay with their mothers for about two years before venturing out on their own. Females typically only reproduce every other year or less.

Baby panda bear
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

19. No hair, don’t care

Panda cubs are born pink, with almost no hair, and are blind. At about 1 week they begin to develop their distinctive black and white markings and at about 5 to 7 weeks, they start to open their eyes.

Baby panda
Foreverhappy-Mee / iStock

20. Panda cubs are very vulnerable

In the wild, pandas will nest in hollow tree trunks or caves. Newborn cubs won’t be able to even stand on their own for nearly four months, making them particularly vulnerable.

Baby pandas
Taken by Dawn Beachy at Beachy Photography LLC / iStock

21. Just chillin’

Older pandas spend most of their days eating or sleeping, while younger ones spend a lot of time chasing and playing with each other, running, climbing trees, and tumbling on the ground. 

Panda in water
Juhku / iStock

22. Pandas can swim

Like other bears, pandas like the water and can even swim.

Panda on a rock
LeeYiuTung / iStock

23. Pandas are an endangered species

The Chinese government began panda conservation efforts in the 1940s, and the first panda reserve was established in southern China in 1963. Pandas were officiallyt classified as endangered in the 1980s.

Cute panda in a tree
dangdumrong / iStock

24. What’s in a name?

The giant panda’s scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca. The panda is considered a “living fossil” and has been around for roughly 3 million years. 

A group of pandas
Hung_Chung_Chih / iStock

25. A group of pandas is called …

An embarrassment, believe it or not. Groups of pandas are often commonly referred to as a cabinet or a bamboo.

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Constance Brinkley-Badgett

Constance Brinkley-Badgett is MediaFeed’s executive editor. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital, broadcast and print journalism, as well as several years of agency experience in content marketing. She has served as a digital producer at NBC Nightly News, Senior Producer at CNBC, Managing Editor at ICF Next, and as a tax reporter at Bloomberg BNA.