The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a mammal in the bear family. It is also known as a Panda Bear.
The Giant Panda has smooth, thick, black and white fur. It has black patches around its eyes, over it ears, and across its body. It has five fingers and an enlarged bone called the pseudo thumb, which enables it to grip bamboo shoots. Its face is round with round black ears.
It grows to 120-190 centimetres (48-72 inches) long and 60-90 centimetres (24-36 inches) tall at the shoulder. Its tail measures 10-15 centimetres (4-6 inches).
The Giant Panda is native to south central China. It prefers the mountain ranges of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu.
It is terrestrial, spending its time on the ground.
It is crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk.
Although it is classified as a carnivorous mammal, it is actually a folivore, eating bamboo shoots and leaves.
It is a mainly a solitary animal.
The female is pregnant for 95-160 days, before giving birth to 1-2 live young. The young are pink, blind, and toothless. Only the mother looks after the young.
The young panda gains its fur after about 14 days.
[Location of photographs: Adelaide Zoo, Australia and Berlin Zoo, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM