Giant Pandas’ Diet and Their Favorite Food

We are already very familiar with the adorable face of the giant panda in cartoons, pictures, and movies. Most of the time, bamboos appear closely around them. They are either holding the juicy bamboos or feeding them to the mouth quickly. People may then think that the giant panda is herbivore but in fact, they are a carnivore. Besides bamboo, which is their main food, pandas also eat meat, fish, carrot and specially made nutritious steamed bread in captivity.

Giant Panda’s favorite food is bamboo

Giant panda’s daily diet is every tender part of bamboo, including leaves, stems, and shoots. Bamboo takes 99% of the panda’s diet. It’s definitely their favorite and indispensable.

Actually, due to ecological environment changes around the year and hence different growth stages of bamboos, panda’s bamboo diet varies accordingly between seasons. From April to June, the food is mainly bamboo stems; from July to October, bamboo leaves; and from November to March, old shoots, stems and leaves.

Pandas can find the most nutritious parts of bamboo quickly. They can peel and eat a bamboo shoot in about 40 seconds.

What bamboo species giant pandas eat?

There are in total about 164 different types of bamboo in Southwest China, but only a few species are widespread at the high altitudes where majority wild pandas now inhabit. Research shows that pandas live on about 25 different kinds. They especially like umbrella, arrow, and golden bamboos.

All plants of single bamboo types flower, die and regenerate at the same time. Pandas need at least 2 different bamboo species in their living area to avoid starvation. Among the different parts of bamboo, giant pandas love tender shoots the best, and then young leaves, because fresh shoots have less fiber and more nutrition.

Now is it clear to you what pandas eat?

Let’s just do a quick quiz to test!

1. Do pandas eat eucalyptus?

No. The only tree pandas eat is bamboo. Eucalyptus is the favorite food of the koala bear.

2. Do pandas eat fish?

Yes, they like to catch fish in the creeks in deep mountains.

3. Do pandas eat humans/people?

Well…no! Panda is most of the time meek, except they feel threatened or are with their babies.

4. Do pandas eat their babies?

No. Pandas are quite protective of their babies and will take care of them until the babies are at least two years old.

5. Can pandas eat meat?

Yes. Pandas are born carnivore, although their main food is bamboo. In the wild, pandas sometimes eat rodents such as bamboo rats to survive.