Giant Panda FAQs
- Name: The Chinese call it the ‘big bear-cat’ (大熊猫 da xiongmao /dah-sshyong-maow/).
- Size: 75 centimeters (2.5 foot) tall and 1.5 meters (5 foot) long
- Weight: Up to 150 kg (330 lb)
- Habitat: Central- Western and Southwest China.Mainly Sichuan. A few in Shaanxi and Gansu. See the map »
- Diet: 99% bamboo. 13 kg (30 lb) or more a day.
- Life Span: Up to 30 years in captivity, but usually only 15 to 20 years in the wild
- Protection Status: Endangered. Estimates of giant panda numbers in the wild vary between 1,500 and 3,000.
- Giant Panda Facts »
General FAQs about Giant Pandas
Giant Pandas live in alpine and sub-alpine regions, so they don’t like high temperatures. Cold is ok.
Sure, they are very good at it.
Yes, they do.
Giant pandas are very sensitive in hearing and smell. However, they are born myopic.
Giant pandas are normally peaceful animals and bamboo-eaters, but they have been known to attack humans. Because of their size (up to 150 kg, 330 lb) this could be dangerous. This is very rare, and probably the result of some sort of provocation.
When visiting the pandas, do as your guide instructs and any risk of distress to the pandas will be minimized.
No-one really knows, but some scientists suggest that giant pandas black and white coats would provide camouflage when there is snow in their mountain habitat or make them difficult to spot when sleeping in trees.
Other scientists say the opposite - that their coloring makes them stand out, so it is easier for them to spot one another for mating purposes (giant pandas have poor eyesight).
Giant pandas’ bamboo diet makes them less scary than other bears. Eating bamboo has also made giant pandas round of face and round of body, which is quite endearing. They need to be round to keep warm on a low-energy diet and the round face holds powerful jaw muscles for munching bamboo.
If you visit the Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, you can see pandas up close, have your photo taken with them and even hold a panda cub.
FAQs about Visiting Giant Pandas
The following is the daily schedule of an adult panda. It is best to visit them during their meal times or play times. Early in the morning before 9 o’clock is a very suitable time, when pandas come out to eat.
- 12:00 am – 2:00 am rest
- 2:00 am – 7:40 am breakfast
- 7:40 am – 10:30 am morning break
- 10:30 am – 11:00 am play time
- 11:00 am – 12:00 am lunch
- 12:00 am – 2:30 pm noon break
- 2:30 pm – 9:00 pm supper
- 9:00 pm – 12:00 pm night sleep
China is the only remaining natural home of giant pandas, most of which live in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. Bifengxia Giant Panda Base and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding are the best places to see the pandas.
There are also giant pandas in zoos in various places around China:
- Beijing Zoo, Beijing
- Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai
- Chongqing Zoo, Chongqing
- Seven-Star Park Zoo, Guilin
- Ocean Park, Hong Kong
- Taipei Zoo, Taiwan
Yes, there are volunteer programs at Bifengxia Giant Panda Base and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. During the programs, participants can work with skilled panda keepers to take care of the pandas. See more at Volunteer Programs.
Both are very good places to see the pandas, or join in the volunteer programs to take care of the pandas.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located almost in the city center, and it is more professionally run and controlled.
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is about 2 hours drive from the city center. It has more pandas, and you will get to see pandas more in their natural habitat than the one in Chengdu.
For tourists who stay for a few days in Chengdu, it is suggested that you see the pandas at Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, and also take part in their volunteer program. For tourists with less time, going to see the pandas in the Research Base near the city center would be more convenient.
It’s important for the pandas to have a quiet environment. Please see the following tips:
- Please do not make noises or sudden movements that might startle the pandas.
- Please do not approach or throw food to the pandas, unless the panda keeper tells you to do so. Otherwise it might disturb the panda’s eating regime and cause them to become sick.
- Follow the panda keeper’s instructions. Please do not touch the adult pandas or let them touch you.
- Do not take photos or videos unless it’s allowed. Taking a photo of the panda costs 500 yuan (73 USD), while holding a baby panda costs 1000 yuan (147 USD) at the panda base. These costs are at visitors’ own expense.
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