The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a bear native to south central China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Giant pandas rely on bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of their diet. Every day they fill their tummies for up to 12 hours, shifting up to 12 kilograms of bamboo.
The giant panda lives in highland of the mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan and its neighbouring provinces.
The giant panda has luxuriant black-and-white fur. Adults measure around 1.6 m long, including a tail of about 13 cm, and 80 cm tall at the shoulder. Males can weigh up to 160 kg. Females are generally smaller in size. Average adult weight is 110 kg.
The giant panda has a body shape typical of bears. It has black fur on its ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, arms and shoulders. The rest of the animal’s coat is white. The giant panda’s thick, woolly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat.
The giant panda’s paw has a ‘thumb’ and five fingers. The ‘thumb’ is an elongated wristbone, it helps to hold bamboo while eating.
July to September is the period when mother pandas give birth. Female pandas give birth to one or two cubs every two years. Baby pandas stay in their mothers’ uterus for just 3 to 5 months.
When giant pandas are born, they are tiny, blind, and pink, with few hairs. The average weight is 100g. The limbs of newborn pandas are so weak that they are not able to stand at all. For two months after birth, baby pandas basically only feed on milk. They open their eyes six to eight weeks after birth.
Cubs stay with their mothers for 18 months before venturing off on their own.
More information of the growth and development of the giant panda can be found on the following website: https://www.chinahighlights.com/giant-panda/baby-panda.htm
The giant panda typically lives around 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.
Stamps of China with pictures of the Giant Panda
Paintings of the Giant Panda by Wu Zuoren (吴作人) (1908 – 1997)
More paintings from other museums and galleries
Zhang Hemin (2001), China Giant Panda Garden, Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan Nationality Publishing House ISBN 7-5409-2476-4