Types of Pandas – The first thing that comes to mind must be the fact that Pandas are adorable. Their natural habits draw us into liking them.
From all of those viral pandas’ videos, we know about their diet plan, which are young bamboo branches and leaf.
However, they are not herbivore. Pandas are scientifically classified into the carnivore category, but their natural diet plan suggests that they are omnivore.
Studies said, pandas that are kept in a zoo, where they are regularly fed, consume bamboo. Meanwhile, wild pandas are more open to diet option, such as meat or carrion.
Let’s talk about pandas and their natural attributes!
- Types of Pandas
- A. Giant Pandas
- B. Red Pandas
- Interesting Facts About Those Two Types of Pandas
- Giant Panda Facts for Kids
- 7 Mesmerizing Facts About Giant Pandas
- 1. We Are Fans of Pandas’ Cuteness
- 2. Pandas Have 7 Toes to Hold Bamboo
- 3. Pandas’ Pigment transfrom from Pink to White as well as Black, or Brownish
- 4. 28 kg of Pandas’ Poop per day!
- 5. Pandas’ Top Priorities are Eating and Sleeping
- 6. Pandas’ Pregnancy Cycle, Mating Season, Including the Birthing Month
- 7. Pandas’ Carnivorous Teeth are Useful for Eating Bamboo and Fruit
- 6 Baffling Facts About Red Pandas
Types of Pandas
In this world, there are two types of pandas that are scientifically acknowledged: Giant Panda and Red Panda.
Practically, it is easy to differentiate them, because each of them has specific physical characteristics.
Their noticeable differences can be seen from body size and colors.
The Giant Panda is bigger than the Red Panda. It is reflected in the name that Giant Panda has a bear-like size body. Its body is covered in two colors, black and white.
Meanwhile, the Red Panda has a raccoon-like body with a thick reddish hair and a bushy tail.
Despite of the differences, both of them are classified into carnivores.
Let’s learn more about them!
A. Giant Pandas
People say a name is a resemblance of who you are, and it is highly applicable to the first types of pandas that is the Giant Panda.
It appears that it has a squishy body—almost like a doll. However, its huge and large body can weight around 160 pounds, and its giant body can reach to 6 feet tall in its maturity.
The most popular physical characteristic of the Giant Panda is its color, which is white hair coated with black color in several areas, such as the eyes, arms, legs, ears, and nose.
Oh, sorry, we got distracted by this cub’s adorable stare!
Commonly, most people call Giant Panda with a simpler nickname that is ‘Panda’ or ‘Panda Bear’.
However, if you’re wondering about this one of types of pandas’ scientific name, it is Ailuropoda melanoleuca. We doubt that you can pronounce it correctly the first time, but none of us does.
The name Ailuropoda melanoleuca is actually a combination of panda’s category (first part) and type (second part) in Animalia Kingdom.
Oh, look how adorable they are!
Talking about pandas’ category, the common conception is that they are closely related to bears and raccoons, but this argument alone will spark a debate among scholars.
To solve the debate, a research—a molecular research—was conducted, and the result was able to settle the debate. It stated that pandas are categorized as true bears.
Here is their complete classification:
Pandas’ well-known characteristic is their thick fur. The most noticeable aspect from the fur is the combination of black and white colors.
Truthfully, the fur is actually white, but it is layered with black in several spots, such as around the eyes, ears, arms, and legs.
The modesty of these colors lures us into loving them.
Where do Pandas Live ?
To see them in natural habitat, we need to go to Western or South Western parts of China, especially Sichuan district.
Scattered around these areas, a 2016 survey mentioned that wild pandas’ population is no longer endangered. Since 2015, the population is increased by 16.8% to 1.864 pandas.
Other than the wilderness, pandas can also be seen in many zoos in China, as well as other countries.
Giant Panda Adaptation
Natural condition often changes in the form of weather, season, etc. To follow the notion of “survival of the fittest”, pandas have to find their own way to survive.
For example, during winter, pandas move away from open spaces on top of the hill to avoid coldness, so they commonly migrate down the hill to warm up their body.
While doing so, meeting with predators or other bigger animals may put pandas in danger. To protect themselves, pandas have similar way like bears, which are bowing their head and roaring to scare the predators.
On the contrary, they are very gentle when talking to each other, which is honking, snorting, or whistling.
Like bears, adult pandas choose to live on their own. When they feel lonely, they reconnect with other pandas through making sound or leaving marks on trees.
Exception is made for female adult pandas, because they are responsible to teach their cubs until these little babies reach maturity.
Panda Lifespan Image
How long does it take for cubs to reach mature age?
According to the image, if “mature” means leaving their mother and start living on their own, then it takes only 2 years.
But, lifespan of pandas is 20 years. However, it has been reported that they can live longer than that if nurtured well.
Body Size & Weight
At mature age—two years old, pandas can weight over 40kg. The older the pandas, the more their weight increases.
For example, old pandas can weigh 125kg to 160kg, and the lowest weight of female pandas is 70kg. Such heavy weight is balanced with their tall stature, which is 4 to 6 feet, and their 15cm tail.
What do Pandas Eat ?
Giant Pandas’ huge body drives them to embrace the attitude of heavy eaters.
The majority of their life time is spent to hunt for food, and 99% of their diet is composed of bamboo since it is very easy to find bamboo tress in their areas.
Bamboo is covered with a thick layer that becomes exercise for pandas’ carnivorous teeth. The inside of bamboo is also rich of protein for pandas’ digestion system.
Other than bamboo, pandas who live in the wild also find meat of carrion, rats or birds extremely appetizing.
If only these predators understand the concept of cuteness.
When pandas are out to find food, one of the challenges is meeting predators.
Full grown pandas may be able to defend themselves from any predators, including their cousins, bears.
Knowing this, it is predators’ nature to go after pandas’ cubs.
Before 2015, pandas were endangered species. Their population was below 1500.
To save pandas from extinction, The International Union for Preservation of Nature or IUCN never take their eyes off of pandas.
The IUCN stated that since pandas’ population status changed to no-longer-endangered animals, the number has reached between 2000 to 3000 population in the world, including pandas that live in the zoos and the wild.
Are Pandas Dangerous ?
Pandas can be dangerous.
However, it depends on whether or not they are being provoked.
If there is a circumstance where they feel pressured, attacked or harmed, pandas will fight fearlessly for their lives.
The majority of their time is spent relaxing, eating and sleeping, while looking extra adorable at the same time.
B. Red Pandas
When people say panda, they are commonly referring to the Giant Pandas. However, the Red Pandas are also a member of the category.
In term of size, Red Pandas are considerably smaller than the Giant Pandas. Also, they have reddish-brown fur instead of black and white.
The preservation status of the Red Pandas in the IUCN’s watch is concerning. Their population is slowly decreasing, so the IUCN named them as vulnerable species.
Like any animal, Red Pandas also have alternative names. As one of the types of pandas, Red Pandas are often called Lower Panda, Red Cat-Bear or Red Bear-Cat.
Another nickname of these pandas is Lesser that comes from the word –Less, which explains their small body size compared to the Giant Pandas. A lot of their nicknames also describe the color of their thick fur that is red.
In scientific world, the red pandas are called Ailurus fulgens in which Ailurus is the name of their genus and fulgens is their type.
A zoologist from France named F. Cuvir stated that Red Pandas have two sub-species: A. F. Fulgens and A. F. Styani.
These sub-species are classified into the phylum of Chordata, Class of Mammalia, Order of Carnivora, Family of Ailuridae, and Genus of Ailurus.
Shockingly, the Red Pandas’ body size is the polar opposite of Giant Pandas.
Red Pandas are a little bigger than a domesticated cat. At a glance, it almost looks like a cat with reddish-brown fur.
A specific characteristic can be seen on their eyes. There are white spots near the eyes that look like white eyebrows. Plus, the white spots are covering their whole ears.
Meanwhile, the lower body parts are layered with a more blackish fur.
Origin & Environment
Similar to the Giant Pandas, they are originated from China. They can be found in South Western of China and China’s Eastern Mountain range. Those areas are their natural habitat.
These areas are located at 2.200 to 3,600 meters above waters, resulting in a 10 to 20 oC temperature. That is the perfect temperature for Red Pandas.
Also, these areas offer a plentiful of food, such as bamboo that becomes Red Pandas’ favorite main course.
Sadly, the Red Pandas’ habitat is doomed by irresponsible human beings. Now, they are experiencing habitat loss.
It is concerning that their population is continuously decreasing.
Body Dimension and Weight
The Red Pandas are slightly bigger than house cats, but considerably smaller than Giant Pandas.
In detail, from the heads to the body, Red Pandas are measured to 25 inches. Then, their tail is measured to (maximally) 23 inches.
Meanwhile, there is no different between male and female Red Pandas in term of weight, because both of them are weigh up to 6kg.
Red Panda Diet
Similar to Giant Pandas, the Red Pandas are also classified into Carnivore category, but their habits show that Omnivorous way of surviving is used as a mean to fulfill their nutrition need.
Therefore, other than bamboo, the Red Pandas also eat meat of birds or insects.
In the exception of meat, they are also open for fruits, such as berries and blossoms.
To be able to pick those fruits, Red Pandas are gifted with a great climbing ability.
However, Red Pandas that are nurtured in zoos often found to eat leaves, mulberry and maple bark.
When an animal is claimed vulnerable or endangered because of human beings’ irresponsible acts, it is very concerning.
Red Pandas’ are now experiencing habitat loss. Due to that, their population is decreased to 10.000.
To protect the remaining species, the IUCN released a warning that said that they are prone or vulnerable.
If this loss is not prevented, there is always a possibility that they will become endangered or critically endangered.
That is why we need to support the IUCN to identify the problem and manage to solve it together, so we can save the Red Pandas.
What is the cause of Red Pandas’ habitat loss?
The blame should be put on those irresponsible human beings’ shoulders due to the damage they’ve done to Red Pandas’ natural habitat.
In short, many areas in South Western China where they live, the woods are deforested for the purpose of egotistical businesses of agriculture and logging.
Interesting Facts About Those Two Types of Pandas
Even though they come from the same family, each of them has unique characteristics and behaviors. Here are some of those interesting facts that you don’t know before:
Giant Panda Facts for Kids
- Even though pandas are nurtured in zoos in many countries, they are still being born and raised in the mainland, China. Once they are ready for display, they will be shipped to the zoo via FedEx.
- Female pandas are moody when it comes to mating process; it becomes a problem since their mating season doesn’t last long (during spring and only last 24 to 72 hours per year).
- When cubs are born, they are as small as kittens. In two years, these cubs can weight over 40kg.
- Since they are cubs until they grow up to maturity, pandas love eating very much that they eat up to 40 times a day in which bamboo contributes to 20 to 30 pounds of their body weight.
- Pandas are intelligence creatures as well. They learn by observation. When they see a caretaker give a panda special treatment, such as scratch its back, other pandas who see it will imitate the action to one another.
- There is a unique kind of diplomacy in China that is called “Panda Diplomacy”. It is when the government would gift a panda to international relation as a polite gesture of friendship.
- Another fun fact is that the famous logo of WWF—a black and white panda—that is created by Sir Peter Scott is used because he wanted to minimize printing cost.
- Pandas’ caretakers in Chinas are paid for $32,000 per year to take care one of the cutest types of pandas that is the cubs. They are given a small kitchen, bed and covered space to take care of them.
7 Mesmerizing Facts About Giant Pandas
1. We Are Fans of Pandas’ Cuteness
Pandas are known for their cuteness. It almost like their cuteness cannot be contained, but why do we consider pandas as cute?
According to a research conducted by Gordon Buchanan from BBC1 channel, pandas’ huge eyes and snuggly fur make us think about cute dolls.
Other than that, their eyes help them to see better at night too.
2. Pandas Have 7 Toes to Hold Bamboo
In order to hold a bamboo easily, this one of two types of panda has two extra fingers on each paw.
In detail, the sixth and the seventh thumbs are actually enlarged wrists that look like fingers without claws.
These additional thumbs are used by the pandas to hold the bamboo while they are eating it.
In addition, these thumbs also help them to steer or adjust the bamboo into certain shape, so they can eat it easily.
3. Pandas’ Pigment transfrom from Pink to White as well as Black, or Brownish
Make a room for the brown and white pandas!
Most people only know the black and white panda bear, but there are also brown and white panda bears that roams around Chinese forests.
Truthfully, this is actually a phase. When baby curbs are born, they are covered by less fur and their skin is pink colored.
Later on, they will come to this brown and white phase. Then, three weeks pass, their brownish color disappears and it gets replaced by black.
4. 28 kg of Pandas’ Poop per day!
As we have learned, pandas are heavy eaters.
Even those that weight only 45kg eat approximately 18kg bamboos per day, and full grown up pandas can reach 150kg in weight, so you do the math.
With that much food inside their body, they poop 28kg per day.
Do you still want to be their caretakers?
If Hansel and Gretel use bread as tracker, pandas use their poop. Yes, their poop shows the direction in which they are going.
That is actually very helpful for scientist who study them, but that is certainly dangerous when the track is found by irresponsible people who have the intention to illegally sell pandas.
Shockingly, there is a diet called “Panda Keeper Excursion”. This diet refers to you eating cooked bamboo all the time. Are you interested?
5. Pandas’ Top Priorities are Eating and Sleeping
Pandas have two things on their schedule: (1) eat and (2) sleep; they are only active when they eat their favorite local bamboos.
Scientists assume that maybe there is a connection between such behavior and adult female pandas’ of this types of pandas‘ mating cycle.
Because of the adult female pandas only conceive once a year, panda bears’ species are classified into vulnerable animals by the IUCN.
6. Pandas’ Pregnancy Cycle, Mating Season, Including the Birthing Month
These days, Panda Bears can be found in many zoos in countries outside of China, but the regulation says that the cubs have to be shipped back to China to breed until certain age before returned back to the zoo, and the costs of this process are paid from the money you use to buy ticket.
A research conducted in Chengdu, China, pandas are genetically prepared to have dual maternity with the length of pregnancy is 3 to 5 months in March to May.
7. Pandas’ Carnivorous Teeth are Useful for Eating Bamboo and Fruit
Pandas are classified as Omnivore, but they have Carnivorous teeth.
A lot of people jokingly say that their Carnivorous teeth were remnant from ancient time when pandas were the top predators.
Anyway, their sharp teeth are useful for crushing the hard part of bamboo.
In many cases, pandas that live in a zoo eat not only bamboo, but fruits as well. However, those that live in the wild sometimes eat meats too.
This types of pandas doesn’t have the ability to run faster than the prey, so they are basically waiting for prey to come to them.
6 Baffling Facts About Red Pandas
It is a shame that not many people know that these little guys are pandas. The spotlight is reserved for the Giant Pandas, but Red Pandas are going to show you that they deserve to be known too.
1. Just a slightly bigger than house cat
Red Pandas are just slightly bigger than domesticated cats, although their length is mostly added by their 18 inches long tail.
Like most pandas, Red Pandas prefer solitude.
They can be found cozying with their tail around their body on the higher part of the tress.
Other than that, the tail is also used as a balancing tool.
2. It’s easy for them to escape!
Red Pandas may be the perfect partner to play The Escape Room, and this case will tell you why.
In 2013, the Smithsonian National Zoo was displaying a Red Panda named Rusty. Rusty was so smart in the art of escaping that he got out of the zoo after only three weeks.
How did he get out?
Rusty knew that the tree branch that was pushed down by the rain until it reached his room’s electric fence was the bridge to freedom.
People on social media were amazed by this phenomenon. They helped the museum found Rusty in a neighboring area soon after a couple of days.
Reportedly, Rusty who is now a father has obtained more patience and reduced recklessness.
Another case of Red Pandas escaping zoos occurred in Germany, precisely, Dresden. There, the panda used a fire tube to get to the tree. Unfortunately, the tube exploded. Luckily, he was all right after 30 feet free falling.
For this reason, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums made a funny remark that about these types of pandas, they said Red Pandas are Houdini.
Even the zoos that are located in Rotterdam, London and Birmingham had removed Red Pandas.
3. Became The Icon of A Web Browser
If Giant Pandas become the icon of WWF because they have simple colors that minimize printing costs, Red Pandas are the icon of Mozilla’s web browser, Firefox—even though they are mistaken as fox.
The story behind the –fox was because Mozilla’s first intention was to use –bird, but it was already taken.
Later on in 2010, Mozilla used two cubs of Red Pandas from Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee as the icon. Do we have to tell you that people were blown away by the pandas’ cuteness?
4. Their Fossils Are Scattered Around The World
These types of pandas live in the ranges of Eastern Mountain.
Shockingly, UK is the country of where scientist found the first fossil of Red Panda.
It was 1888 when they found a lower jaw of panda that had been identified as big as a cougar-sized animal.
Later on, fossils of Red Pandas were found in several other countries, such as Eastern Europe, United States (the fossil is five million years old), Spain, and Tennessee which is almost like a burial for ancient Red Pandas.
5. They’re Not Endangered, But They’re Vulnerable
According to survey conducted by the Globe Wildlife Fund, it has been reported that there are only 10.000 Red Pandas left in the world.
Even though they are not endangered, their number will continuously drop to below 10.000 if the habitat loss issue isn’t solved immediately.
6. Red Pandas are not in the Bear Family
In 1980s, a research was done to figure out the relation between Giant Pandas and Red Pandas.
The result was Red Pandas belonged to Ailuridae family, while Giant Pandas are part of the bear family.
Even though Red and Giant types of pandas are not cousins or related in family stage, they still have a similarity in cuteness that overwhelms any one!