PANDA - Origin, characteristics and photos!

Panda: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Ailuropoda melanoleuca, or commonly known as panda or giant panda is one of...

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The Ailuropoda melanoleuca, or commonly known as panda or giant panda is one of the most famous animals in the world. Soft toys, drawings, T-shirts, costumes of course their presence is remarkable in almost all areas. But did you know that its origin could be Spain and not China? On PlanèteAnimal, we tell you in detail about this fascinating and millennial species that arouses so much sympathy for its adorable appearance, as well as the dangers that await it and how we could fight them. Keep reading this sheet and discover everything about the panda, information for children and adults, to learn more about this beautiful animal.Happy reading!


  • Asia
  • Europe

Origin of the panda

Although the species has always been thought to originate in Asia, new studies of its evolution have challenged this long-held belief. More precisely, these studies locate the origin of a primitive species of current pandas, that is to say an ancestor in the genetic sense, in the Iberian Peninsula. This new theory arose from the fossil remains found in Barcelona and Zaragoza (Spain), which are older than those found in China, since the remains found in Spain are between 11 and 12 million years old, while those found in China were 7 or 8 million years old at the most. The theory holds that the panda subspecies originated in the Iberian Peninsula and from there it spread to Eurasia, although it is currently only found in China and parts of Asia. from the South East.

Although the panda has been an endangered species for years, in 2014 there were many more specimens than in the previous decade. In particular, 1864 pandas have been recorded in the wild. Thus, since September 4, 2016, the international authorities in charge of this categorization, in particular the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have changed the category of pandas, becoming a vulnerable species instead of an endangered species. , since it is considered that it is no longer exposed to such a high risk of extinction, except in the event of an unforeseeable disaster, since the number of individuals has exceeded 2000.

Panda Features

The size of a panda is variable. Giant pandas can weigh over 300 pounds, with males being larger than females; the size can reach almost two meters, although they are usually between 1.4 and 1.8 meters long; the height at the withers is about 90-100 centimeters.Thus, when it comes to describing the panda, it can be said that it is quite corpulent, with a robust and rounded appearance. Their particularity is to have a "sixth finger" at the front ends, longer than the rear ends, which resembles a human thumb, as it allows them to grasp objects and hold them, as well as to climb. It's not really an articulated finger, but an extension of the wrist bone.

In continuation of the physical characteristics of the panda, the head is flat, with a rather reduced muzzle, ending in a developed nose, which allows it to enjoy an excellent sense of smell. The eyes are small, with elongated rather than round pupils, similar to those of a domestic cat. The ears are round, large and erect, the tail is round, pom-pom shaped, and usually about 10-12 centimeters in circumference.

Undoubtedly, the panda's coat is what most characterizes this species, a mixture of black and white, but distributed in a particular way.The distribution is as follows: black on the nose, ears, shoulders and extremities, as well as on the eyes; white on chest, belly, face and back. It's not really pure white, but more of a slightly yellowish, ivory-like hue.

Where does the panda live?

If you are wondering where giant pandas live, it can be said that in the wild, these bears live exclusively in remote areas in the mountains of China and some places in Southeast Asia. They live in bamboo forests, where the climate is characterized by high humidity and fairly low temperatures, which is normal since they live in areas where the altitude is above 1500 meters. However, in winter, when temperatures are extreme and snowfall is heavy, they can descend to areas around 1000 meters above sea level.

Pandas do not like human company, which is why they prefer areas where there is no agriculture or livestock, preferring coniferous and pine forests where there are large amounts of bamboos.There, the foliage is dense and thick, trying to avoid being disturbed by humans. If they detect people, they quickly run away and hide.

One of the biggest threats to this species is that the subtropical forests where it once lived, which spanned wide valleys across China, have been replaced by plantations of rice, wheat and other cereals. These forests were below the 1500 meters mentioned, and bamboo was abundant, but as they have disappeared the pandas have been forced to retreat to the high mountains where small areas of forest remain, normally between 1500 and 2000 meters, although more often they have to climb above 2000 meters to find areas with enough bamboo to sustain them. The panda's habitat is thus threatened and is one of the main reasons for its inclusion on the endangered animals list.

Panda Food

Pandas are omnivorous animals, although it is widely accepted that they are totally herbivorous, as they feed on vegetables such as roots, bulbs or flowers, as well as bamboo, which they consume more. But in reality, if we stick to its anatomy, the panda has the digestive system of a carnivore. In addition, in its diet, we often find foods of animal origin such as eggs or small mammals and rodents.

The fact that its stomach is that of a carnivore clearly shows that the panda had to modify its diet in order to survive. This is why these animals are traditionally fed bamboo today, because in times of scarcity, it was the only thing they still had access to in the lush forests of ancient China. However, since the panda feeds mainly on grass, it must eat huge amounts of bamboo every day. As we say, this is because its digestive system is not that of an herbivore, which means it does not assimilate nutrients in the same way as a pure herbivore.This is why an adult panda needs to consume such exorbitant amounts of bamboo, as are the approximately 20 kilos of this plant that it ingests daily.

To learn more about the subject, do not miss our article on the diet of the giant panda.

Panda habits

To continue the description of the panda, let's now talk about its daily habits. The panda is an animal that performs its daily activity in two moments, at sunrise and sunset, the rest of the day it is quite sedentary, limiting itself to eating and hiding in the forests where it lives. It can thus spend 12 to 14 hours a day feeding, devoting even more time to this task than to sleeping.

Because it lives in areas with a subtropical climate, the panda does not hibernate like other bears such as the brown bear, although it varies its time depending on the time of year . In addition, since it does not hibernate, it must migrate to less cold regions where it can find food, since the shoots and plants on which it lives disappear with frost and snow.

Pandas are generally solitary and independent, although they establish quite friendly relations with their conspecifics as long as one does not encroach on the territory of the other. In terms of territory, the panda marks the area it considers its own with stripes on the bark of trees, with urine and also with feces, so that when another panda sees or smells these marks, he can alert himself and leave this territory to avoid confrontation.

Reproduction of panda

The panda breeding season only lasts between 1 and 5 days, it only occurs once a year and is usually between the months of March and May, depending on weather conditions and the availability of resources. This is why it can be difficult to mate, and if the male and female do not reunite within this short time, another year will have to pass before they can breed again.

When the female is in heat, several things can happen. If, for example, no male finds her, she simply goes into heat and it is only the following year that she will have the opportunity to reproduce. The reverse can also happen, i.e. several males find the same female, in which case the males face each other, the winner being the one who will copulate with the female after spending a few days together. Factors such as the age of each of the pandas also come into play, and if these factors are wildly disparate, copulation is unlikely to occur, as well as if the pair doesn't understand or clash. Therefore, the panda's courtship is complex, and due to this and the short duration of its breeding season, it is not easy to repopulate the species.

Once copulation has taken place successfully, and if the pregnancy has developed without noticeable problems, babies will be born in approximately 100-160 days, depending on the extent of egg implantation and embryonic development.Thus, during the months of August or September, a litter of two or three pandas will be born, weighing approximately between 90 and 130 grams and taking approximately seven weeks to open their little eyes. Until that time, the mother will always stay with them, not leaving her refuge, not even to feed. Only when they open their eyes will the mother come out to regain strength by consuming large amounts of food.

All this information about the panda allows us to see the factors that threaten the species and the reasons why it is in danger of extinction. To find out how to protect them, do not miss the article “How to protect endangered animals”.


  • Did you know that at birth, pandas have pink skin and white fur? The black spots appear as they develop.
  • A panda can live an average of 20 years.

Panda Pictures

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