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Giant panda

Giant panda The giant panda is a large black and white bear from the mountain forests of southwestern China. It is easily distinguished by its black eye-patches. A solitary animal, the giant panda mainly eats bamboo shoots. It may spend up to 16 hours a day feeding. Despite its diet being almost entirely herbivorous, the giant panda is classified as a carnivore. Once widespread in China, this shy animal is now very rare. As people have taken over more of the bamboo forest for farmland, the giant pandas have lost vital sources of their food. It is estimated there are around 1800 giant pandas still living in the wild.



Giant panda, China, up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long
Giant panda eating bamboo

Bamboo diet

A meal of bamboo, which forms 99% of the giant panda’s diet, can last nearly all day. It eats up to 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of bamboo per day. Bamboo is not a nutrient-rich food, so the panda has to eat a great deal of it to survive. Sometimes the giant panda will eat other plants, or feed on the meat of dead deer, for example—but it is not quick enough to hunt live animals for food.
 

The giant panda's scientific name, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, means "black and white cat-foot".

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