Panda life

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Information about Panda life

Published on January 15, 2008

Author: Sigfrid


Panda life:  Panda life Presented by Brandon Cameron Physical Description :  Physical Description Body Type Although scientists do not know why these unusual bears are black and white, some speculate that the bold coloring provides effective camouflage into their shade-dappled snowy and rocky surroundings. The panda's thick, wooly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat. Giant pandas have large molar teeth and strong jaw muscles for crushing tough bamboo. Habitat:  Habitat Locations High in dense bamboo forests in the misty, rainy mountains of southwestern China lives one of the world’s rarest mammals: the panda. Population Only about 1,000 of these black-and-white relatives of bears survive in the wild. Survival:  Survival Eating Pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo shoots and leaves. Occasionally they eat other vegetation, fish, or small animals, but bamboo accounts for 99 percent of their diets. Life Span Scientists aren't sure how long giant pandas live in the wild, but they are sure it's shorter than life spans in zoos. Chinese scientists have reported zoo pandas as old as 35. Current Status The giant panda is listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Animals. It is one of the most critically endangered species in the world. There are about 1,600 left in the wild. More than 160 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China. Interaction:  Interaction With humans The Giant Panda has long been a favorite of the public, at least partly on account of the fact that the species has an appealing baby-like cuteness that makes it seem to resemble a living teddy bear. The fact that it is usually depicted reclining peacefully eating bamboo, as opposed to hunting, also adds to its image of innocence. Though the Giant Panda is often assumed docile because of their cuteness, they have been known to attack humans, usually assumed to be out of irritation rather than predatory behavior. With each other Adult pandas are generally solitary, but they do communicate periodically through scent marks, calls, and occasional meetings. Offspring stay with their mothers from one and a half to three years. Reproduction:  Reproduction Giant pandas reach breeding maturity between four and eight years of age. They may be reproductive until about age 20. Female pandas ovulate only once a year, in the spring. A short period of two to three days around ovulation is the only time she is able to conceive. Calls and scents draw males and females to each other. Female giant pandas give birth between 95 and 160 days after mating. Although females may give birth to two young, usually only one survives. Giant panda cubs may stay with their mothers for up to three years before striking out on their own. This means a wild female, at best, can produce young only every other year; in her lifetime, she may successfully raise only five to eight cubs. The giant pandas’ naturally slow breeding rate prevents a population from recovering quickly from illegal hunting, habitat loss, and other human-related causes of mortality. Overall Lifestyle:  Overall Lifestyle Cubs At birth, the cub is helpless, and it takes considerable effort on the mother’s part to raise it. A newborn cub weighs three to five ounces and is about the size of a stick of butter. Pink, hairless, and blind, the cub is 1/900th the size of its mother. Except for a marsupial (such as the kangaroo or opossum), a giant panda baby is the smallest mammal newborn relative to its mother's size. Cubs do not open their eyes until they are six to eight weeks of age and are not mobile until three months. A cub may nurse for eight to nine months. A cub is nutritionally weaned at one year, but not socially weaned for up to two years. Adults A wild panda spends much of its day resting, feeding, and seeking food. Unlike other bears from temperate climates, giant pandas do not hibernate. Until recently, scientists thought giant pandas spent most of their lives alone, with males and females meeting only during the breeding season. Recent studies paint a different picture, in which small groups of pandas share a large territory and sometimes meet outside the breeding season. Much remains to be learned about the secret lives of these elusive animal. The end:  The end

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