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Giant Panda Behavior & Habitat

1. Does the giant panda have any natural enemies?

Yes. Some animals, such as jackals and leopards, prey on pandas. The yellow-throated marten, a relative of the weasel, sometimes eats giant panda cubs. Healthy adult giant pandas seem strong enough to defend themselves against the attack of most other animals. Researchers once observed a female giant panda chasing a black bear that was too close to her cub.

2. Does the giant panda hibernate?

The giant panda does not hibernate because it can store much fat on a bamboo diet.

3. Can pandas climb trees?

Yes. Panda cubs start to climb trees when they are only six months old.

4. Can panda swim?

Yes, they can swim.

5. Does the giant panda make nests or live in caves?

For most of their lives, pandas roam in the forest. Females stay in caves or hollow trees when giving birth and for three to four months after cubs are born. In the Qinling Mountain area in China, female pandas live in stone caves while raising their young, while those in Sichuan Province live in tree dens.

6. Do pandas live together?

Pandas like to live alone and for most of their lives do not live together with others. But during mating season pandas often meet, exhibiting complicated social behavior. After mating, the male leaves the female. The mother raises her young alone. The cub leaves the mother at the age of 1.5 or 2.5 years.

7. Where do pandas go in the winter? What do they eat at that time?

During wintertime, pandas usually move from very high elevations to mid- to low-elevation areas. They still feed on bamboo.

8. What kind of habitat do pandas prefer?

Pandas like old-growth forests with nourishing undergrowth bamboo on a gentle slope, where streams are not too far away.

9. Are there any other rare and endangered animals in the panda habitat?

Yes, there are many rare and endangered animals living in the same habitat with pandas, such as red pandas, takins, golden monkeys, and golden pheasants.

10. Pandas have been reported to eat farmers' livestock such as sheep. Is this true?

A panda in Pingwu County killed some sheep that belonged to a local farmer, but it did not eat them. It is extremely rare for a giant panda to enter an area inhabited by humans and to kill livestock. The giant panda is a very shy animal.