Giant Pandas Life Cycle
Giant pandas can live up to 30 years in captivity, but usually only 15 to 20 years in the wild.
- 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 pandas are born tiny (about 100g or 4 ounces), blind, white and helpless. The mother cradles her tiny cub in a paw and doesn’t leave the den for several days after giving birth, even to drink.
Cubs soon develop soft gray fur which becomes coarser and develops its black and white pattern in a month.
Cubs rely on mother’s milk for the first year, but start to eat bamboo after six months. They can crawl at three months. Cubs easily die in the wild because they are so small and defenceless. The mother has to leave them alone in the den to eat for four hours a day.
Giant pandas weigh about 45 kg (100 lb) at one year. Cubs live with their mothers for up to two years.
Giant pandas are fully mature and able to breed at six years old. The rate of reproduction is about one cub every two years, with gestation taking 3-5 months.