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?
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.
2. Pandas live longer in captivity
The average panda will live 15-20 years in the wild, and 25-35 years in captivity.
3. Pandas LOVE bamboo
The average panda will eat between 25 and 40 pounds of bamboo in a single day.
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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.
5. Fewer pandas live in captivity
There are approximately 600 pandas living in zoos and wildlife parks around the world.
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.
7. The panda is still beloved
The panda is considered a “National Treasure” by the people of China.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
16. Pandas have a language
Researchers have decoded up to 13 different panda vocalizations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
22. Pandas can swim
Like other bears, pandas like the water and can even swim.
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.
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.
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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