Giant pandas are black and white bears that are native to China. You probably know, they have great public appeal.
Giant pandas live in bamboo forests, often in the mountains. One of the rarest animals in the world, they are also endangered. There are only about 1,600 pandas living in the wild; another 100 live in zoos.
Pandas eat mostly bamboo, which makes up 99 percent of their diet. Their molars are flat, which helps pandas crush bamboo. Bamboo is not that nutritious, so they need to eat a lot of it to stay healthy. Because pandas digest only a fifth of what they eat, they spend 12 hours a day eating.
Giant pandas typically measure up to four or five feet tall and weigh up to 300 pounds—they really do live up to their name! They are also shy and dislike being around other pandas.
Pandas are pregnant for only five months. Female panda cubs mature faster than male cubs do, at four to five years, versus six to seven years.
Giant pandas are really cute, but they may not be around to look at that much longer if their conservation is not taken seriously.
[Sources: National Geographic Kids; www.livescience.com]