Giant Panda Facts

posted: 08/22/16
Lun Lun
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Lun Lun the Panda
Animal Planet L!VE/Zoo Atlanta
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Panda Cam Highlights
Facts Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta

What do giant pandas eat?

Giant pandas eat primarily bamboo. Here at the Zoo, the bulk of their main diet is made up of bamboo and leafeater biscuits. The biscuits are a processed chow, similar to dry dog or cat food, which provides vitamins and minerals that the pandas may not receive from bamboo alone. The Zoo Atlanta pandas also receive bananas and apples for training treats and sugarcane as enrichment.

What's Lun Lun's diet like now that she's pregnant?

When Lun Lun starts to "den up" for an impending birth, about 2 to 3 weeks prior to parturition, she will scale back and consume very little food and drink very little water. This behavior will continue for about another month post-birth, although the giant panda team will continue to offer her food and water during this time.

How long can a giant panda live for?

The average lifespan for a wild giant panda is 18 to 20 years, but is typically longer in zoological settings; giant pandas can live more than 30 years in zoological settings.

Do pandas have predators in the wild?

Wild giant pandas have few predators due the size of a fully-grown adult, but there are some species, such as jackals and snow leopards, which may prey on cubs.

Are pandas considered to be smart?

Testing the intelligence of any animal is challenging because we have to find the proper motivation first, and giant pandas are very challenging to motivate. There have been various studies on their learning techniques and cognition, with mixed results. They may, however, be compared with other bears in terms of intelligence.

Are pandas related to bears?

Giant pandas are bears. They are members of the family Ursidae, which is the classification for all of the world's bear species, including black bears, brown bears, polar bears, sun bears, spectacled bears and sloth bears.

Who are the pandas in the Panda Cam?

Zoo Atlanta is home to two adult giant pandas, female Lun Lun (born August 25, 1997) and male Yang Yang (born September 9, 1997). Lun Lun and Yang Yang were born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China and arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 1999.

Twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, both female, were born July 15, 2013, and currently reside at Zoo Atlanta. Lun Lun's and Yang Yang's first three offspring, male Mei Lan (born September 6, 2006), male Xi Lan (born August 30, 2008) and female Po (born November 3, 2010) all now reside at the Chengdu Research Base.

How common are twins? Have there ever been triplets?

Giant pandas give birth to twins about 50% of the time. In the wild, a giant panda mother giving birth to twins will typically choose to care for only one offspring.

Triplets are very rare. There is currently only one surviving set of triplets in the world, at Guangzhou's Chimelong Safari Park in China.

How often can pandas give birth? How many births over a lifetime?

Reproduction with giant pandas is very challenging. Females do not reach breeding maturity until 5 to 7 years of age. Their breeding season is limited to four months out of the year, during which females are only fertile for about 48 hours. Since wild giant panda cubs may stay with their mothers for up to three years, adult females are only able to produce a cub every other year, for an average lifetime maximum of five to eight cubs.

What does a pregnant panda go through?

There is little, if any, weight gain. Since cubs are born so small (3 to 5 ounces), there isn't much of a "baby bump" to keep an eye on.

What do newborn panda cubs look like?

Newborn giant panda cubs are pinkish in color, nearly hairless, blind, and have been described as being "the size of a stick of butter." They are completely dependent on their mothers for warmth and care.

Does the father take part in the cub's upbringing?

Giant pandas are a solitary species and do not live in the family groups seen in social mammals. Males and females generally associate only during breeding season, and the father plays zero role in the rearing of cubs and are not likely to ever even meet their offspring. Yang Yang has never met any of his offspring.

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