Giant Pandas – What Are Their Main Characteristics and Behavioural Traits?

Giant pandas are some of the most beautiful creatures to ever walk the earth. With cute and cuddly exteriors, along with a sense of balance that would put even the clumsiest of individuals to shame, these wonderful creatures are a real joy to behold. Unfortunately, as is the case with far too many other creatures on our wonderful planet, they are now an endangered species, which is why we need to act fast if we wish to save them. Here at Pandashock, we literally grew up with Pandas right on our doorsteps, and in fact, we still have them here as we are situated in Sichuan Province, home of the Giant Panda. While there are still Giant Pandas living in the wild, thanks to conservation efforts from other panda-lovers, we now have sanctuaries for these pandas, where they are cared for, raised, fed, and kept safe. The main problem is that Giant Pandas are so notoriously difficult to breed, so naturally, simply breeding them and releasing them out into the wild, is not as easy as it would be with say, fish or lobsters. But enough doom and gloom, let’s look at the positives! Giant Pandas are still very much alive and well, conservation efforts have stepped up a notch in recent times, and we’re confident that one-day, giant pandas will once again roam the earth like they did centuries ago.

But what about Giant Pandas and their temperaments? People often think of Giant Pandas as cute and cuddly teddy bears, but make no mistake about it, these are still wild animals, and what’s more, they are big and have been known to be fierce. To help you learn more about these majestic animals, here’s a look at the temperament and characteristics of Giant Pandas.

Size and appearance – To begin with, we’ll look at their overall size and appearance. As mentioned, and as they have ‘Giant’ in their name, Giant Pandas are not small creatures. Typically, a Giant Panda will stand between 3 and 4 feet in height when stood on its hind legs, and will reach more than 6 feet in length. In terms of weight, smaller pandas tend to weigh around 150 – 180 pounds, whereas average pandas weigh roughly 250 pounds. However, larger Giant Pandas have been known to weigh more than 300 pounds in weight. Not surprisingly, the males are the larger of the two, though females still average in at around 220 pounds. In terms of appearance, well, they’re instantly recognisable as they have an unmistakable black and white fur coating on their bodies. When you see them, they do indeed look pretty cute and cuddly, but you must remember that they are still members of the bear family.

Natural habitat – China is the spiritual and physical home of the Giant Panda, particularly the forests of Southwest China. Giant Pandas live in high altitudes which range between 8000 feet and 12,000 feet. They prefer mountainous regions with dense foliage and caves where they can seek shelter from potential predators, and the elements if need be. They also prefer to be surrounded by bamboo, because they eat so darn much of the stuff. Giant pandas can spend as much as 18 hours happily munching away on bamboo, so if you’re in China, in mountainous regions surrounded by dense foliage at high altitudes, with bamboo trees and plants nearby, you can bet that giant pandas won’t be too far away.

Behaviour and characteristics – So, what about the behaviour and characteristics of the Giant Panda? Well, let’s take a look:

Giant Pandas are normally tolerant – Some animals in the wild, are incredibly aggressive and will attack other creatures without warning, for no real reason at all. Giant pandas however, are generally a lot more tolerant. They are fairly placid and generally will not bother other animals, or people, as long as they are not bothering them.

They can be territorial – Despite being tolerant, some Giant Pandas can still be territorial and aggressive, especially females when they have young with them. Pandas have scent glands on their tails and will use this to rub their tails and spread their scents onto rocks, trees, and other parts of their surroundings, to indicate that this is indeed their territory. When a female panda has young with her, the best advice for people and other animals, is to stay well clear because she will become very fierce and will protect her young at all costs. So now you have been warned.

Male pandas become aggressive during mating season – During the mating season, when pandas are ready to rut, it is not uncommon for male giant pandas to become very aggressive, especially towards other males. Just like in modern society, and with other male animals during the mating season, male pandas will strut around when they detect a female, and will flex their muscles in a bid to impress her. If they detect a male in the area, they will normally fight for her affections. If you want to see similar scenes, only with human beings, just head out to a nightclub on a Friday or Saturday night.

Giant Pandas have been known to kill – Not too long ago, back in 2011, cameras caught a giant panda in the wild, catch and tear an antelope to shreds, and to then feast on its corpse. We think of pandas as cute teddy bears but we have to remember they are big, ferocious beasts that are a member of the bear family. In Lushan County, Sichuan, a local farmer noticed his goats were going missing, until one day he caught a Giant Panda in the act, as it hunted and killed a goat before dragging it off to eat, with no trouble at all. They do enjoy bamboo of course, but these animals are also predators, and therefore, smaller creatures like wolves, would not stand a chance against them.

Pandas are good at making escapes – In the event of a Giant Panda feeling threatened, it will either climb a tree, or alternatively curl up into a ball and roll down the hill to make a speedy getaway.

Each panda has a unique personality – Like people, the thing you will find with Giant Pandas is that each one is different. Some are more aggressive than others, some are more agile, some are more placid, and so on. That’s why there have been some cases where people have been able to hug and pet giant pandas with no issues at all, yet there have been other instances where giant pandas have attacked. Basically, it all depends on the temperament of that specific panda.