Panda's natural enemies and defences

Natural enemies and predators

Adult pandas have very few natural enemies. The few animals that will prey on pandas are:

Kung fu panda

The 2008 animated blockbuster Kung Fu Panda tells the story of Po, a panda who is an apprentice noodle-maker and kung-fu fanatic. In the plot, his worst enemy is Tai Lung: a fierce kung fu fighting snow leopard.

In real life snow leopards, also a highly endangered species, pose a definite threat to young pandas. Both animals share similar geographic areas, especially high mountain ranges in Asia.
 / ©: naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon
© naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon
 
 / ©: WWF-Canon / KLEIN & HUBERT
The snow leopard, itself also an endangered species, may attack young pandas.
© WWF-Canon / KLEIN & HUBERT

Defences: can pandas fight back?

Giant pandas are solitary and peaceful animals who will usually avoid confrontation.

But if 
If escape is not possible, they will certainly fight back. Giant pandas will display aggression by lowering their heads and staring directly at the opponent.

As cuddly as they may look, a panda can protect itself as well as most other bears by using:
  • Physical strength
    They can grow to be 1.5m long from nose to rump, and weigh about 150kg - that's almost 2x heavier than most adult humans
  • Strong jaw muscles and large molar teeth
    Although used mainly for crushing bamboo, a panda bite can be very nasty
Additionally giant pandas can also count on other natural skills.
  • Panda cubs start to climb trees when they are only 6 months old, and as adults the pandas make excellent climbers.
  • They can also swim and, unlike most other bears,  do not sleep for months at time in hibernation
All these abilities make the giant panda a formidable opponent for the few natural enemies that dare attack them.
Pandas mainly use their strong jaws and teeth for eating bamboo, but they will bite if confronted.

If they defend themselves, why are pandas so endangered?

The biggest threats to pandas are not in the wild, but through everyday human actions.
The reason why they are one of the most endangered species on our planet is because they threatened activities such as: Basically, humans are the greatest threat to pandas.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that humans are also the greatest hope for pandas because we can do something about it

No matter where you live, if we all treat our planet better, we can guarantee a future for the giant pandas, fishes, forests and even ourselves.

Let's start now:

Virtual Gifts

Virtual Gifts / ©: WWF

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