Giant  Panda
   
Ailuropoda  melanoleuca
   
BIG BEAR CAT
PANDA
PANDA BEAR
   
    SCIENTIFIC  CLASSIFICATION
    KINGDOM :              Animal
    SUB KINGDOM :     Metazoa
    PHYLUM :                Chordata
    SUB PHYLUM :       Vertebrata
    CLASS :                   Mammalia
    ORDER :                  Carnivora
    FAMILY :                  Ailuropodidae
    GENUS :                  Ailuropoda
    SPECIES :               melanoleuca
    ************************************************************************************************
    to learn about SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION ..
    go to ..
    LINNAEUS SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION page
 
" In His hand is the life of every creature "
Job 12:10

    HELPFUL  INFORMATION

    FOR A LONG TIME GIANT PANDAS WERE CLASSIFIED IN THE FAMILY URSIDAE .. THE BEAR FAMILY
    NOW THEY ARE CLASSIFIED IN THE FAMILY .. Ailuropdidae
    GIANT PANDAS ARE NOT CLOSELY RELATED TO RED PANDAS
    BUT
    THE RED PANDA IS A  RELATIVE TO THE GIANT PANDA




    the giant panda's body resembles a bear
    THE GIANT PANDA'S SKULL AND DIGESTIVE TRACT ARE SIMILAR TO A RACCOON
    BUT
    biologists are sure that the GIANT PANDA is actually a BEAR  ! ! !







    THE PREDATORS OF THE GIANT PANDA ARE ..
    LEOPARDS
    JACKALS
    HORRIBLE HUMANS
 

    BIOLOGY
    physical characteristics
    warm blooded
    mammal

    COLOR
    AMAZING BLACK AND WHITE COLOR PATTERN
    BIOLOGISTS ARE NOT SURE WHY THE BEAUTIFUL GIANT PANDA IS BLACK AND WHITE
    it is believed that giant pandas are black and white so that during the winter ..
    the giant pandas will be camouflaged in their snowy rocky bamboo forest habitat
    THE SNOW IS LIKE THEIR WHITE PARTS
    THE ROCKS ARE LIKE THEIR BLACK PARTS
    it is also believed that giant pandas are black and white so that during the summer ..
    the giant pandas will be camouflaged in their habitat of dense bamboo forests
    THE BAMBOO STALKS CREATE PATTERNS OF LIGHT AND DARK LIKE THEIR WHITE AND BLACK PARTS  

    CAMOUFLAGE HELPS THE GIANT PANDAS TO BLEND IN WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND
    TO HIDE THE GIANT PANDAS FROM POSSIBLE PREDATORS


    in the spring giant pandas are more noticeable than in the winter or summer or autumn ..
    THIS HELPS THE GIANT PANDAS TO BE MORE VISIBLE TO EACH OTHER DURING THE TIME OF MATING ..
    being more visible to each other helps them to not waste any energy trying to find each other   ! !!

    GIANT PANDAS HAVE ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL APPEARANCES OF ALL OF THE ANIMALS IN
    THE WORLD  ! ! !
    GIANT PANDAS ARE THE MOST ADORABLE ANIMAL IN THE WORLD ! ! !
    their distinct black and white coloring makes them easily recognizable all over the world  ! ! !
    the color of the giant panda is called piebald ..
    PIEBALD IS BLACK AND WHITE

    white body
    black legs
    black shoulders
    black eye patches
    black ears

    GIANT PANDAS BLACK AND WHITE COLORING IS A PHYSICAL ADAPTATION FOR SEVERAL REASONS ..
    protection
    nutrition
    social communication

    PROTECTION
    THE BLACK EYE PATCHES OF THE GIANT PANDA CREATE AN ILLUSION THAT THEIR ACTUAL EYES
    ARE MUCH MUCH BIGGER AND MORE THREATENING THAN THEY REALLY ARE

    IN NATURE ..
    LARGE EYES ARE SCARY TO PREDATORS OR OTHER GIANT PANDAS

    THIS FEATURE KEEPS PREDATORS AWAY

    the round black ears of the GIANT PANDA may be biological adaptation for defense and protection and offense

    WHEN THE GIANT PANDA LOWERS ITS HEAD TO FACE OFF ANOTHER GIANT PANDA ..
    THE BLACK EARS LOOK LIKE BIG SCARY EYES AGAINST THE WHITE FUR ON BACK OF NECK ..
    this looks like the giant panda has 2 sets of big scary eyes  !!!!     WOW !!!!

    NUTRITION
    GIANT PANDAS ARE SOLITARY ANIMALS
    AND
    GIANT PANDAS CAN BE VERY AGGRESSIVE TO OTHER GIANT PANDAS

    giant pandas need to spend a HUGE amount of time foraging for food
    usually about 14 hours a day .. but can be .. UP TO 18 HOURS EVERY DAY
    giant pandas cannot afford to waste ANY time at all
    CANNOT WASTE TIME AND VALUABLE ENERGY IN AGGRESSION TOWARDS OTHER GIANT PANDAS
    giant pandas need to avoid other giant pandas most of the year
    SAVES TIME TO USE FOR GETTING PROPER NUTRITION   ! ! !

    PROTECTION
    black and white coloring of the giant panda is for camouflage and protection from potential predators
    THE GIANT PANDA LIVES IN A PLACE THAT IS VERY SNOWY DURING PART OF THE YEAR
    with a lot of dense forest
    GIANT PANDAS BLEND IN WITH SURROUNDINGS
    this protects them !

    SIZE
    giant panda standing on hind feet is .. 5 - 6 feet tall
    from nose to tail .. 4 - 5 feet long
    tail of giant panda is 5 inches long
    HEIGHT at shoulders is 24 inches tall
    GIANT PANDAS ARE DIMORPHIC
    the male giant panda is about 18 % larger than the female
    WEIGHT  165 - 350 pounds

    FUR
    ADULT FUR
    very coarse
    springy
    extremely thick
    dense
    oily
    waterproof
    THE AMAZING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FUR OF ADULT GIANT PANDAS
    PROTECTS THEM WONDERFULLY FROM THE COLD
    the beautiful fur insulates and keeps the giant panda warm from the cold of the mountains in CHINA

    HEAD
    MASSIVE WIDE HEADS
    bones in huge head are wide and strong
    SUPER STRONG JAW MUSCLES ARE ATTACHED TO THESE SUPER STRONG BONES
    need super strong jaw muscles to be able to CRUSH strong bamboo stems

    EYES
    SMALL SMALL
    deep black color
    EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXPRESSIVE EYES
    bit nearsighted
    GIANT PANDAS HAVE EYES THAT ARE VERY MUCH LIKE A CAT'S EYES
    with a vertical pupil     ! ! !
    GIANT PANDAS ARE OFTEN CALLED CAT BEAR BECAUSE OF THEIR EYES

    EARS
    HAVE SUPER EXCELLENT HEARING
    so acute that they can hear even the most quiet predator from quite a distance

    NOSE
    large black nose
    GIANT PANDAS HAVE AN EXCELLENT EXCELLENT SENSE OF SMELL  !


    MOUTH  
    GIANT PANDAS HAVE REALLY REALLY AMAZING TEETH !!!
    GIANT PANDAS HAVE 24 DECIDUOUS BABY TEETH
    GIANT PANDAS HAVE 40 - 42 PERMANENT ADULT TEETH
    they have a few cutting teeth
    and
    many many molars  !

    ALL OF THE GIANT PANDA'S TEETH ARE SUPER SUPER SUPER SHARP   ! ! !
    giant pandas have strong teeth to grind their food
    the giant pandas molar and premolar teeth are BROAD and FLAT
    THE GIANT PANDAS TEETH ARE MUCH LIKE THE TEETH OF HERBIVORES  !

    over many many years .. the giant pandas teeth have adapted and changed because of their diet
    BAMBOO IS VERY FIBROUS AND TOUGH .. so GIANT PANDA TEETH NEED TO TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH !
    over time the sharp pointed carnassial teeth of the giant panda flattened into broad molars
    for grinding the fibrous bamboo

    FEET
    ALL 4 OF THE GIANT PANDA'S FEET TURN INWARD TOWARDS EACH OTHER
    giant pandas have awesome claws
    LONG .. PARTIALLY RETRACTABLE .. REALLY REALLY SHARP
    giant pandas have 5 digits . fingers on each front foot
    giant pandas have 5 digits . toes on each hind foot

    ON EACH FRONT FOOT ..
    THE GIANT PANDA HAS A 6TH FINGER-LIKE APPENDAGE THAT FUNCTIONS LIKE A THUMB ..
    thumb evolved from the sesamoid bone in the wrist
    IT IS USED TO HELP THE GIANT PANDA TO HOLD BAMBOO WHEN EATING
    it is very flexible and works with real thumb for super super gripping ability  ! ! !
    ( THIS 6TH FINGER EVOLVED BECAUSE OF THE GIANT PANDA'S ALMOST EXCLUSIVE BAMBOO DIET )
    GIANT PANDA'S FRONT PAW FINGERS ARE VERY DEXTROUS
    can quickly peel outer shell of bamboo to get to juicy inside core  !!!

    DIGESTIVE TRACT
    THE GIANT PANDA HAS A DIGESTIVE TRACT THAT IS LIKE A CARNIVORE
    BUT
    THE GIANT PANDA EATS MOSTLY VEGETABLE PLANT MATTER
    the giant panda's intestine is not set up to digest vegetable plant matter
    TO THOROUGHLY DIGEST THE FIBROUS CELLULOSE PARTS OF PLANT MATTER ..
    ANIMALS NEED CERTAIN MICROBES TO BE PRESENT IN THEIR TRACTS TO HELP BREAK DOWN
    THE FOOD INGESTED
    LONG COMPLEX DIGESTIVE TRACTS TO SLOWLY ABSORB THE FOOD NUTRIENTS
    giant pandas do NOT have long digestive tracts
    GIANT PANDAS DO NOT HAVE PROPER NECESSARY DIGESTIVE MICROBES IN THEIR INTESTINES TO DIGEST BAMBOO
    THOROUGHLY
    giant pandas intestines have really really really thick walls
    THE WALLS OF THEIR INTESTINES ARE THICK BECAUSE VEGETABLE PLANT MATTER THAT GIANT PANDAS
    NEED TO DIGEST IS
    tough .. coarse .. rough

    GLANDS
    THE GIANT PANDA'S BODY HAS MANY GLANDS LOCATED RIGHT NEAR THE TAIL AND IN THE TAIL
    reproductive tract glands
    digestive tract glands
    tail glands
    ALL OF THESE GLANDS PRODUCE IMPORTANT NECESSARY FLUID SECRETIONS

    TAIL
    GIANT PANDA'S TAIL IS
    short
    covered with long fluffy hair
    their tails look big and fatty
    THE UNDERSIDE OF THE GIANT PANDA'S TAIL HAS A HAIRLESS PATCH
    the hairless patch is located at the base of the tail
    GIANT PANDA'S TAIL PRESSES CLOSE TO THE BODY
    giant panda's tail protects
    TAIL GLAND OPENINGS
    DIGESTIVE TRACT OPENING
    REPRODUCTIVE TRACT OPENING
    URINARY TRACT OPENING
    giant pandas also use their tails as brushes to spread their gland secretions onto trees
    GLAND SECRETIONS ARE SPREAD AS INFORMATION MARKS
 
 

    LIFESPAN

    GIANT PANDAS LIVE TO BE 30 PLUS YEARS OLD
 

    WHERE  IN  THE  WORLD

    GIANT PANDAS LIVE
    ONLY
    IN THE COOL MOUNTAIN BAMBOO FORESTS
    IN CENTRAL SOUTHWESTERN CHINA   !!!

    THE RANGE OF THE GIANT PANDA WAS ONCE VERY VERY LARGE
    THROUGHOUT MUCH OF CHINA AND BEYOND
    now
    THEIR RANGE IS VERY VERY SMALL
    and
    DIVIDED INTO LITTLE FRAGMENTED SECTIONS

    giant pandas now live in 24 fragmented forest patches
    EACH FOREST FRAGMENT MAY HAVE ONLY 50 GIANT PANDAS WITHIN

    the total area of their range is about 9,000 square miles
    ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS IN THE UNITED STATES
    ( this is way too small !!!!!    .. they NEED more of their land returned to them !!!! )

    giant pandas once lived
    from MOUNTAIN LOWLANDS OF MYANMAR
    through NORTH VIETNAM
    through all of EASTERN CHINA
    and SOUTHERN CHINA

    now in ..
    high altitude isolated mountain realms of central south western CHINA  .. ONLY !

    SO SO SO MUCH FOREST HAS BEEN CUT DOWN FOR LUMBER FOR HUMANS
    AND
    TO CLEAR FOR FARMLAND
    so that not much is left for the GIANT PANDAS   !! !

    GIANT PANDAS LIVE IN only 6 SMALL MOUNTAIN RANGES IN SOUTH WESTERN CHINA
    - Quinling Mountains in Shaan'xi Province
    - Minshan Mountains in Sichuan Province and Gansu Province
    - Qionglai Mountains in Sichuan Province
    - Daxiangling Mountains in Sichuan Province
    - Xiaoxlangling Mountains in Sichuan Province
    - Liangshan Mountains in Sichuan Province

    THE AREA THAT GIANT PANDAS LIVE IN IS A VERY VERY VERY SMALL AREA FOR THEM

    the range of the giant panda is..
    wet
    cold
    humid
    with snow on the ground from OCTOBER - MAY
    the temperature is rarely above 50 degrees Fahrenheit

    THIS AREA CONTAINS MORE PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES THAN ANY TEMPERATE AREA IN THE WORLD !
    the range of the giant pandas includes alpine meadows and snowy realms
 
 

    HABITAT

    GEOGRAPHIC HABITATS OF THE GIANT PANDA ARE
    high altitude mountains and deep valleys

    GIANT PANDAS PREFER ..
    high mountains
    low valleys
    flat ends of valleys
    river valleys
    terraces
    gentle slopes
    quiet
    closeness to water
    abundant food with dense bamboo
    dense vegetation cover
    tall trees

    GIANT PANDAS NEED CLIMATES THAT ARE ..
    humid . with much rainfall . without extreme heat

    GIANT PANDAS DO NOT LIKE EXTREME HEAT

    GIANT PANDAS NEED TO BE CLOSE TO WATER BECAUSE THEY NEED TO DRINK WATER EVERY DAY !!!!

    the habitat of the giant panda is ..
    cold . dense . damp
    forest of ..
    bamboo trees . fir trees . spruce trees . birch trees
    with lots and lots of lichen and moss

    GIANT PANDAS LIVE AT ELEVATIONS OF  5,000 - 12,000 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL
    giant pandas do not live below 3,500 feet

    IN THE SUMMER THE GIANT PANDA LIVES HIGH ON THE PLATEAUS OF THEIR HABITAT
    IN THE WINTER THE GIANT PANDA LIVES DOWN IN THE VALLEYS OF THEIR HABITAT


    GIANT PANDAS HOME TERRITORIES ARE 1/2  -  1 SQUARE MILE
    the home territories of giant pandas have lots of paths and tunnels through the dense forest undergrowth
    to feeding sites of bamboo

    THE TERRITORY OF GIANT PANDAS CAN BE DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON THEIR AGE
    AND WHETHER THEY ARE FEMALE OR MALE
    the territory of giant panda females is about  1.5 - 2.75 square miles
    the territory of giant panda males is about     2.75 - 3.75 square miles
    THE TERRITORY OF NEWLY MATURE YOUNG ADULT GIANT PANDAS IS ABOUT   1.5 - 2.75 SQUARE MILES

    GIANT PANDAS DO NOT HAVE A REGULAR DEN
    they just rest and sleep whenever they need to

 
 

    FOOD

    ALMOST 99 % OF FOOD IS BAMBOO   !!!
    fresh shoots in spring
    mature leaves in summer
    stems in winter

    but they will eat all sorts of other things if they can find them
    THEY EAT ABOUT 25 DIFFERENT FOODS IN ADDITION TO BAMBOO ..
    GIANT PANDAS LIKE CERTAIN FOODS VERY MUCH !!!
    wheat
    corn
    corn stalks
    wild fruit
    wild kiwi
    wild loquats
    herbs .. wild angelica .. wild celery
    flowers
    berries
    fungi
    grasses
    bark
    eggs
    egg shells
    protein rich bodies of dead animals they find

    IF BAMBOO DIES .. GIANT PANDAS WILL EAT MANY THINGS OUT OF DESPERATION ..
    rotting trees
    and other rotten things they can find
    small animals if they can catch
    charcoal in the woods

    GIANT PANDAS DIGEST THEIR FOOD VERY FAST ! ! !
    5 hours to digest shoots
    10 hours to digest stems
    14 hours to digest leaves

    BAMBOO IS GREEN ALL YEAR
    bamboo is abundant
    BAMBOO IS STABLE
    bamboo is easy to get
    NOT TOO MANY OTHER ANIMALS WANT BAMBOO
    so there is not too much competition for bamboo

    other animals who eat bamboo ..
    RED PANDAS . BAMBOO RATS . BOARS . BLACK BEARS . BADGERS . TAKINS . GORALS  


    THERE ARE AT LEAST 40 SPECIES OF BAMBOO IN THE AREA OF CHINA WHERE GIANT PANDAS LIVE

    ARROW BAMBOO ( Bashania fangiana )
    IS THE FAVORITE OF GIANT PANDAS

    bamboo is actually a huge woody tough temperate and tropical grass
    BAMBOO IS EVERGREEN
    green all year
    BAMBOO IS AVAILABLE ALL YEAR
    bamboo is easy to get


    GIANT PANDAS SPEND MORE THAN 50 % OF EVERY DAY FORAGING FOR FOOD
    giant pandas need so much food that they eat at least 14 hours each day
    GIANT PANDAS SPEND MORE TIME EATING THAN ANY OTHER ANIMAL IN THE WORLD !
    giant pandas have a distinct routine
    FEED . REST . FEED . REST
    night and day .. every day  ! ! !
    THE GIANT PANDA USUALLY
    eats for about 8 hours
    rests for about 4 hours
    eats for about 8 hours
    rests for about 4 hours
    AND
    REPEATS !!!

    giant pandas travel about 3/4 mile every day while foraging  

    BAMBOO IS NOT VERY FULL OF NUTRIENTS
    giant pandas need to eat lots and lots and lots and lots of food to get proper nutrition and enough calories
    just to sustain life  !  ! !
    GIANT PANDAS ARE NOT EVER ABLE TO BUILD UP A RESERVE OF STORED BODY FAT
    BECAUSE AT THE MOST THEY CAN ONLY TAKE IN A LITTLE BIT MORE FOOD EACH DAY
    THAN IS ABSOLUTELY NEEDED TO SURVIVE

    only about 17 % of the giant panda's food is digested
    THE REST OF THE FOOD IS PASSED THROUGH THE DIGESTIVE TRACT BARELY CRUSHED
    most of the bamboo eaten by giant pandas comes out almost the same as it went in  ! ! !
    BAMBOO PASSES OUT OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT OF THE GIANT PANDA
    the super fast digestive rate is needed to make room for MORE BAMBOO  ! ! !
    and
    the nutrients needed by the giant panda's body  ! ! !

    GIANT PANDAS HAVE TO EAT 25 - 45 POUNDS OF BAMBOO EVERY DAY !!!
    eat about ..
    35 pounds of stems
    OR
    20-30 pounds of leaves
    OR
    45 pounds of new shoots
    OR
    45 pounds of new stem tip growth

    THE GIANT PANDA'S ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART OF THE BAMBOO ARE THE LEAVES  !!!
    the leaves are actually the most nutritious part of bamboo !
    THE GIANT PANDA HAS TO EAT LESS OF THE LEAVES THAN ANY OTHER PART OF THE BAMBOO
    TO GET ALL THE REQUIRED NUTRITION  !!!

    when giant pandas eat stems .. they have to eat about 400 - 600 stems of bamboo every day !!!

    A 220 POUND ADULT GIANT PANDA NEEDS TO EAT AT LEAST 30 POUNDS OF BAMBOO EVERY DAY  ! ! !

    there are about 40 species of bamboo that grow in the range of the giant panda
    BUT
    giant pandas love ONLY 1 species the best !!
    ARROW BAMBOO
    the species they love 2nd best is the UMBRELLA BAMBOO

    GIANT PANDAS CHOOSE THE BEST and MOST NUTRITIONAL VARIETY OF BAMBOO AND
    THE BEST PART OF THE PLANT ITSELF
    at the best time of the year for each species
 
 

    FOOD

    GIANT PANDAS EAT IN  VERY SPECIFIC WAYS
    in spring .. giant pandas eat mostly new shoots or sprouts
    ( these tender new shoots have the MOST NUTRITION and the least amount of fiber at that time of the year )

    in summer and early autumn .. giant pandas eat mostly leaves

    during the rest of the year .. giant pandas eat mostly leaves and stems

    BAMBOO STEMS ARE CALLED CULMS

    THE GIANT PANDA EATS IN SOME VERY AMAZING WAYS ..
    the giant panda has different ways to eat the different parts of the bamboo plant
    BAMBOO STALK STEM
    in standing position .. up on hind legs
    GRABS STALK STEM WITH FRONT PAWS .. pulls over towards mouth
    SITS DOWN .. bites off 20 inches of tip of stalk
    eats fresh tip and leaves
    THEN .. BENDS STALK UNTIL IT SNAPS OFF
    then ..  folds in half until it snaps again
    SPECIALLY ADAPTED TEETH TO STRIP OFF OUT LAYERS FROM STEM
    giant panda jerks head sideways as the bamboo skin is pulled off
    THEN ..
    the giant panda pushes the peeled tender inner part of the stem called pith into mouth
    ( LIKE HUMANS EAT A RAW CARROT )
    and
    QUICKLY MUNCH MUNCH MUNCH WITH A GREAT FORCE !!!
    ( do not chew their food well )
    and
    SWALLOW
    and
    REPEAT  !!!

    sometimes when giant pandas eat bamboo stems they
    strip the branches and leaves from the stems or culms
    CREATE A BUNDLE .. then start munching !!!


    BAMBOO IS usually very plentiful
    bamboo has a very unusual life cycle
    THIS GROWTH PATTERN ADDS TO THE DIFFICULT LIFE CHALLENGES THAT FACE ALL GIANT PANDAS !
    each species of bamboo tree plant will flower once every 40 years to 60 years ..
    ALL OF THE BAMBOO TREE PLANTS OF ONE SPECIES WITHIN A SPECIFIC AREA
    FLOWER AT THE SAME TIME
    the area can be as big at 2,000 square miles
    then .. the seeds form ..
    WITHIN MONTHS OF FLOWERING AND FORMING SEEDS THOSE BAMBOO TREE PLANTS DIE

    NEW BAMBOO TREE PLANTS WILL GROW FROM SEED BUT .. VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY SLOWLY  !
    these new bamboo trees take between 10 - 20 years to become mature enough for giant pandas to eat  ! ! !

    FLOWERING AND DYING ARE NORMAL PARTS OF THE LIFE CYCLE OF BAMBOO

    ARROW BAMBOO FLOWER AND DIE EVERY 60 YEARS   ! ! !


    the way that giant pandas eat bamboo causes a problem with the bamboo's new growth
    BAMBOO GROWS IN A CLUSTER OR A STAND OF STALKS OR SMALL TREES
    giant pandas eat the bamboo stalks from the outside in .. towards the middle
    THE GIANT PANDAS EAT THE OUTER 2/3 OF A STAND OF BAMBOO AND LEAVE THE MIDDLE
    the stand of bamboo then has trouble spreading out and expanding ..
    THE NEW SMALL LITTLE STEMS CAN'T GET BIG ENOUGH TO SEND OUT SPREADING ROOTS  ..
    the giant pandas keep eating the new stems .. they just keep mowing them down !!!
 
SO ... this means that a LOT OF LAND for a LOT OF GROWING BAMBOO IS SO NECESSARY ! !  ! ! !
 
" God said, Let the land produce living creatures "
Genesis 1:24
 

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