Q: Do giant pandas always have two cubs in one litter?

A: The percentage that giant pandas will be pregnant with twins is about 4596, almost equal to that of singleton pregnancies. It is possible but very rare to have a triplet.


Q: Does bamboo taste good? Do pandas have a highly-efficient digestive system?

A: Only a panda could answer as to the flavor of bamboo, but it certainly seems that they appreciate it. Giant pandas are thought to have roamed this Earth for over 8 million years, thus giving rise to referring to them as living fossils. Their eating habits have evolved and changed dramatically from carnivorous to omnivorous. They feed primarily on bamboo, but occasionally prey on smaller mammals or carrion. Despite the majority of the diet being bamboo, the structure of a panda’s digestive tract remains that of a carnivore, straight and short, not curved like herbivorous cattle and sheep. Due to this factor, food remains in both the stomach and intestinal tract for a very brief period of time. Pandas need to eat large quantities of bamboo to remain healthy and maintain energy levels.


Q: How long is a giant panda pregnancy? Why do giant panda | mothers look like they ate in pain when they only give birth to such a small-sized cub?

A: The giant panda gestation period lasts an average range of83-200 days, and an estimated 144 days in the wild. On average gestation for captive pandas are 142 days for a single birth and 132 days for twins. There was one special case of a captive female in Japan giving birth 324 days after her last copulation. Like other bear species, weasels, and 100 other mammals, giant pandas experience embryonic diapause, also known as delayed implantation, where the fertilized egg divides into a ball of cells called a “blastocyst”. At this stage development is halted, and the blastocyst free-floats in the uterus without growth until it is the right time to implant in the uterine wall. Similar to other species pandas are highly sensitive to alterations in the environment, and if there is no suitable shelter or ample food source, the egg will not attached itself and transition into a fetus. If the environment is suitable for implantation and the female panda has enough nutrition, the pregnancy will be quite short and the cubs very small. Like any other mother during the birthing process, giant panda mothers endure significant pain caused by uterine contractions.


Q: Will sub-adult pandas play fight in the wild?

A: As panda cubs grow into adolescents they exhibit natural behaviors such as play fighting primarily for fun, similar to children in a kindergarten. These play fights also prepare them for potential breeding battles over mating rights as adults. However, in the wild, play fights rarely happen as there are a limited number of pandas, each having its own territorial range.