Giant Panda Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Giant pandas are cute, but there's a lot to learn behind the cuddly face. In this lesson, we'll cover where they live, what they eat, what they're like, and why they're in danger.

What Are Giant Pandas Like?

Some people think giant pandas look friendly and cuddly, just like teddy bears come to life. But behind those cute little black eye patches, there are a lot of interesting facts to know about giant pandas. For instance, they are actually a kind of bear, like grizzly bears and polar bears. And there's a reason they're called giant: these bears are big! A grown-up giant panda can weigh over 200 pounds, more than the average weight for an adult man.

Grown-up pandas are big, but baby pandas are tiny. When they're born, pandas are around the size of a stick of butter. Newborn pandas don't have any fur and they can't even see. But after a few weeks, they open their eyes, and after a few months, they start walking around and exploring.

A baby panda
Baby panda

Baby pandas stay with their mother for a few years, and then they go off on their own. Except for mothers with their newborn babies, pandas usually live alone, not in groups. Pandas can live to be around 30 in a zoo and around 20 in the wild.

How Do Giant Pandas Live?

The light green area is the country of China. The dark green areas show where pandas live in China.
Map of panda habitat

Wild giant pandas live in China. They live in a special type of forest where a plant called bamboo grows under the trees. Bamboo is the main food that giant pandas eat. In fact, a panda can eat 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo every day. So if you've ever wondered what real-life teddy bears do all day, now you know: they eat.

Pandas are very good at eating bamboo. You'd probably get tired chewing bamboo all day, but pandas have very strong jaws so they don't get tired. They also have special bones in their wrists that they can use like thumbs to help them hold the bamboo. They don't have real thumbs like people do, but the special wrist bones help them hold the bamboo almost like a thumb would.

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