Now, more than 100 years later, the worldwide love for pandas has been combined with international efforts to keep them from becoming extinct. One theory is that pandas developed the contrasting black and white colors over time so they would stand out in the forest and be able to find each other to mate.
Anyone who's tried to spot one of our panda cubs up in the tree napping can verify how difficult that can be!
Scientists have yet to confirm what the real purpose of the panda's coloration is.
Other vocalizations include honks, huffs, barks, and growls. Pandas scent mark trees, rocks, bamboo, and bushes. Human noses can smell the stinky, waxy scent mark from about a foot away, but pandas are more sensitive to smell, so to them it's even stronger!
We’ve discovered that a scent-marked tree or rock can serve as a community bulletin board, notifying pandas in the area what other pandas have been there and how long ago they left their scent mark.
Strong jawbones and cheek muscles help pandas crush and chew the thick stalks with their flattened back teeth.
Bamboo leaves are also on the menu, as pandas strip them off the stalks, wad them up, and eat them.
Another panda can detect the sex, age, reproductive condition, social status, and even individual identity of the scent maker—as well as how long that scent has been there.
Male pandas often perform “handstands” to leave scent marks.
They spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo.
Because bamboo is so low in nutrients, pandas eat a lot of it daily.
They grasp bamboo stalks using their five digits and a special bone that extends from their wrist called a “pseudo-thumb.” That little pseudo-thumb adeptly holds and manipulates bamboo, almost as well as your thumb does.