As the most adorable mammal living on the earth, the giant panda has stolen the heart of many. Scientists have worked hard to discover the mysteries about cubs. Come check out what you did not hear of, get the kids to learn one or two about baby pandas at birth.
1. The small size of baby pandas
Giant panda babies are the smallest newborn mammal, excepting opossums and kangaroos, compared to the size of the mother pandas. They are about 900 times smaller in size than their mothers. Baby pandas weigh about 100 grams at birth, and are similar in size to a stick of butter.
2. Color of baby pandas
Baby pandas (cubs) are born pink with no hair, not already black-and-white. As they grow, cubs turn to black and white gradually. When they become adults, the skin under white fur is still pink, and the skin under black fur is black.
The gestation period for giant pandas is between 95-165 days. The cubs start to develop when the panda mother is able to get enough food.
4. Months of birth
The mating season is from March to May, so most baby pandas are born in August or September. Female pandas only ovulate two out of three days a year, so the mating period is really short and precious.
5. Twins rarely seen
A giant panda usually gives birth to a single cub. Sometimes twins are born, but in the wild, only the stronger one can live. Mother pandas do not have enough energy to care for both. In captivity, panda keepers will look after one cub when the mother panda takes care of another. It’s found that twins are more common than in the open wild.
6. Only 3 or 4 cubs from a female panda
The population estimated of giant pandas in total is only about 2000. Baby pandas stay with their mothers until two-three years. A panda in the wild can raise only three or four cubs in a lifetime.
7. Low survival rate
The survival rate of cubs is low. In the wild, many newborn pandas die from diseases or from being accidentally crushed by their mothers. Cubs are vulnerable and blind when they are born, they cannot stand at all.
But in captivity, cubs are taken good care of by the panda keepers. Panda bases in China now keep a 90% survival rate with newborn cubs.
8. Growth Stages
Baby pandas do not open their eyes until 6–8 weeks old, and cannot move before 3 months old.
They live in the embrace of mother pandas within the first year. Baby pandas learn to walk, climb trees, and eat bamboos during this period.
When the cubs leave their mother’s side they are about two years old.
Female pandas become adults at the age of around five and males at seven.
9. Food for baby pandas
Milk is the major food for cubs. When baby pandas grow bigger, after about six months, they can start to eat tender bamboo shoots.
10. Where to see cubs
Giant pandas live in a small region in southwest China. Pandas in the wild are well protected in the natural reserves by the Chinese government. There are about 400 giant pandas in captivity at panda bases in Sichuan. They are the best places to see baby pandas.
Wonder how you can see a cub in person? Want to experience the work of a panda nanny? Don’t hesitate. Join in the rewarding panda volunteering program at panda bases in Sichuan, China. Hear the “Gee-Gee” of cubs and watch them grow.