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Panda Bears, are cute and adorable, there on the endangered species list. Their habitat, extremely limited diet and poor reproductive and infant survival combine to extremely threaten their survival. There are two kinds of Pandas. The giant white and black Panda is the one that comes to mind for most of us. But, there is also the Red Panda which is also called the lesser Panda.
The giant panda bear only exists today in six small areas located in inland China. The habitat, suitable for the bamboo on which it survives, is a cold damp coniferous forest.
Panda Bears eat over fifteen different kinds of Bamboo. Because of a inefficient intestinal system the Panda must feed for 12 to 16 hours a day, they can consume 22 to 40 pounds of Bamboo each day.
Millions of Zoo visitors enjoy watching giant pandas eat. A panda usually eats while sitting upright, in a pose that resembles how humans sit on the floor.
Wild giant pandas get much of the water they need from bamboo, a grass whose contents are about half water. But giant pandas need more water than what bamboo alone can provide. So almost every day wild pandas also drink fresh water from rivers and streams that are fed by melting snowfall in high mountain peaks.
Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing, and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains.
Scientists aren't sure how long giant pandas live in the wild, but they are sure it's shorter than lifespan in zoos. Chinese scientists have reported zoo pandas as old as 35.
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 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.
A giant panda is bear-like in shape. It has black fur on ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, and shoulders. The rest of the animal's coat is white. 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. Many people find these chunky, lumbering animals to be cute, but giant pandas can be as dangerous as any other bear.