Do Pandas Eat Only Bamboo ?


99% bamboo and 1% …


As outlined above, wild gigantic pandas feed nearly exclusively on bamboos, however relying on the chances, they may supplement their meal with berries, bird eggs, or carrion. There are also examples of pandas entering towns trying to find meat.

Schaller, that was the initial Westerner to examine wild pandas in China, first in Wolong and afterwards in Wanglang, reported a few cases of animal remains (musk deer, Roxellan rhinopithecus, rats) in droppings found during his sitting research study.

Pan Wenshi, that has actually examined wild pandas in the Qinling Hills for more than 15 years, has had the possibility to observe a number of pandas feeding on meat or gnawing on carrion bones. He recounts 11 instances:

– remains of residential hen as well as domestic pig skin were found in faeces left by the women Dan in Foping in March 1985,

– Hair and also unguis nails of a forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) were found in faeces in Tudigou in March 1987 belonging to the women Jiao Jiao,

– the female Shui Lan feeding upon a takin carcass at Shuidonggou in February 1989,

– the male Hu Zi feeding upon bones as well as meat of unidentified beginning in Shuidonggou in December 1990,

– the women Nüxia feeding on domestic hen in Liaojiagou in July 1991,

– a male feeding on meat of unidentified origin in Shuidonggou in October 1991,

– the female Jiao feeding upon domestic hen at Shuidonggou in 1992-1993,

– the women Xi Wang (Hope) gnawing on bones of unidentified beginning at Shuidonggou in February 1993,

– a specific gnawing on the bones of an elaphod (a deer) (Elaphodus caphalophus) in Shuidonggou in March 1994,

– the female Jiao feeding on skin, ribs as well as a femur of a Chinese subspecies of wild boar (Sus scrofa moupinensis) at Shanshuping in October 1994,

– the women Xi Wang (Hope) eating residential pig bones in July 1997.

Such observations are not restricted to the Qinling Mountains.

On February 4, 2010, a local of Dongsheng village in Baoxing Region, Qionglai Hills, Sichuan Province, captured a huge panda in her barn feeding upon bones of residential pigs.

On 8 and also 9 November 2011, an infrared electronic camera established on the borders of Wanglang Nature Book in Pingwu County, Sichuan Province, took 600 pictures of a wild panda feeding on a dead takin.

On 9 February 2013, a wild panda had eaten a lamb in a sheep pen in Jianlian town in Baoxing County, Qionglai Mountains, Sichuan Province, near Fengtongzhai National Nature Get.

On 11 November 2014, Liang Qihui as well as his colleagues from Foping Nature Book (Shaanxi District, Qinling Mountains) observed a wild panda attacking a big bone. The scene lasted around 20 mins as well as scientists identified it as a takin thigh, which died normally.

Frying pan Wenshi and his group had actually noted that observations of pandas feeding upon carrion or meat typically involved women that were pregnant or feeding their children. They assume that these behaviours are in action to a need for sure nutrients, consisting of vitamins and amino acids.

After the monitoring on 11 November 2014, scientists at the Foping get assumed that this habits could be a method to increase calcium intake, specifically for senior pandas with weakened bone structure.

Wild pandas do not refuse the possibility of a carcass. Frying pan Wenshi also identified 25 species of plants that can occasionally be consumed by pandas.

Monitorings of pandas ingesting mud, soil or sand additionally exist. Researchers make several hypotheses regarding the features of such behavior: to satisfy trace element demands, to chelate steel ions and also secondary plant metabolites as well as therefore prevent their absorption, to provide specific minerals, or to assist in digestion. One more hypothesis, in alongside what has actually been observed in mountain gorillas, which additionally feed on bamboo, the soil hence ingested would make it possible to restrict the diarrhea triggered by bamboo fires.

Panda eating bamboo
Panda eating bamboo

Some rare shots revealing a panda feeding on an ungulate carcass.

To learn more:

> Unusual scene of a wild panda feeding on a takin carcass in Foping Nature Reserve (17 November 2014).

> March 4, 2013: 2 wild pandas seen near villages, testimonies to the obstacle of human existence in panda habitat.

> January 3, 2012: Rare sighting of a large wild panda preying on a takin carcass.

> 8 February 2010: Two wild pandas encountered, one in the Qionglai Mountains, the various other in the Liangshan Mountains.

As well as in bondage?

In captivity, pandas are offered bamboo at will or practically at will. To copy what occurs in the native environment, the types and also parts of bamboo offered vary according to the moment of year, however also in some cases according to the tastes of each person.

The types supplied are either local species if they are accepted by pandas, or imported varieties. In China, they are primarily from the surrounding hills, while abroad they usually originate from horticultural bamboo groves.

The need is huge considering that pandas are generally offered twice as much as they consume. Considering that the bamboos are currently reduced, bamboos that are dispersed late or that continue to be too much in a pen are deserted and also brand-new fresh bamboos need to be offered. Bamboo monitoring is consequently generally an obstacle for zoos.

Nevertheless, due to the restricted number of bamboo varieties offered in bondage, as well as their substandard nutritional high quality, it is essential to supplement the diet of captive pandas to comprise the nutrition deficit. Concentrated cereal-based food distributed in bondage to supplement bamboo must not, however, represent greater than 10% of the diet, ideally 5%.

For instance, at the Chengdu research study base of gigantic panda breeding, pandas obtain a specially prepared cake everyday. This cake is made up of rice, grease, wheat flour, corn, soy, oat meal, water, calcium phosphate (CaHPO4), calcium carbonate (CaCO3); but also vitamins. They love them.


The threat to giant pandas