Giant Pandas' Life Cycle
A panda's life lasts about 20 to 30 years. Their average life is 25 years old, equalling to human' 100 years old. The oldest panda named Dudu in Chengdu survived 37 years.
Life Span of Giant Pandas
- Pandas in the wild: 20 years
- Pandas in zoos: 30 years (The oldest panda recorded 36 years old equaling to 144 years old of human.
Newborn to One-Year-Old -- Need Mother's Care
The newborn panda is so tiny about 150g, only 1/1000 weight of its mother. They are born helplessly blind (their eyes are "sealed") and toothless and pink-skinned with few hairs. They are so small and fragile so they are easily die in the wild.
Baby pandas start to crawl at the age of 3 months. They need to suckle until 1 year old, but at about 6 months, they are ready for bamboo. After 6 months, they will grow very fast.
After 2 Years Old -- Live Independently
After about one and a half years old, the baby panda will leave their mother if she conceives as a panda. This is because giant pandas living in the wild only have the ability to take care of one child. Pandas are fully grown at about 4 years old.
After the Age of 7 -- Maturity & Reproduction
The panda family consists of Mama Bear and baby bear. As soon as Papa Bear mates with Mama Bear, he is completely out of the picture.
This means that the papa bear is just as useful to the mama bear and baby bear, at that point, as is a bicycle to a fish.
Although it appears that pandas live in this reduced nuclear family structure, they do occasionally have social contact with each other through communication.
That is, through vocalizations (they "talk back and forth") and scent trails that they leave in their respective "territories" (panda is not considered to be territorial, strictly defined, although, for all intents and purposes, the female with cub is), scent communicates with other pandas all the time.
Both males and females need to know them, so pandas do not live in complete nuclear family isolation.
Wild pandas reach sexual maturity at an average age of 7 years, while captive pandas reach sexual maturity at an average age of 5 years due to their enhanced nutritional status and physical health.
A male can tell by the scents left on trees, shrubs, etc, whether a female is in heat.
In addition, females emit a barking call. Alerting any male within a rather extended distance that she is available, drawing him closer to her where he can track the progress of her estrus state.
A male will traverse the territory of several females, mating with each of them. Because several males follow the same procedure, it means that a female in heat mates with multiple males.
The primary function of this behavior is to ensure that the female will be fertilized (well, the pleasure that is thus spread around probably doesn't do any harm to the broader social relations among pandas in general, eh?).
Giant pandas mate in the spring. From March to May, each female giant panda can only have contact with a succession of males for a very short period of time, i.e. 2-4 days.
But don't worry, the males in the area will be fully aware of the situation as this period approaches. For they will observe this development by regularly "reading the tea leaves".
As it is said, that is, when the estrus period reaches its fruition, by analyzing the scent of the female. As indicated, the female will have loudly "telegraphed" her willingness to mate by the special barking sounds she makes, a call that has only one interpretation.
Generally, each male fertilizes the female for a short period of time and then moves to the next female.
The period of pregnancy is quite short, requiring only 3½–5½ months. When the time for the birth begins to near, the female instinctively builds a den.
If she has a teenager in the household, it is at this point that the teenager will be sent packing. In other words, the teenager panda will be sent off to discover the wide world on its own.
Since the pandas' young are not prepared to fend for themselves until they are about two years old. The females only conceive at most every other year, or when the teenager is about two years old.
In the wild, if a mother panda gives birth to two babies, only one of them is generally allowed to survive.
Because it is extremely difficult for the mother to feed herself and nurse two babies - the sheer logistics of it would be quite daunting, given the time demands that a giant panda infant makes on its mother.
Moreover, because the panda's diet is very fat-free. So it would be very difficult for a mother panda to convert the nutrients available to her into enough life-giving milk for one infant.
This is yet another of the limiting realities that a diet of bamboo carries with it.
In addition to giant pandas, there are many animals in the wild that control the number of newborn babies. It's based on the availability of food upon the arrival of their cubs. While this is a harsh "Sophie's Choice" for humans.
But for pandas - like other animals facing this choice - it's as normal as any other part of their lives. A survival mechanism will certainly come into play, freeing the mother from her normal instinct to protect her newborn.
Indeed, some species may very well devour the surplus infants, not letting any "windfall" food source go to waste (shudder!).
In captivity, surplus giant panda infants are much luckier – they all get to live. even if the surplus infants have to settle for zookeepers as surrogate moms.
The life of an adult giant panda is pretty much a routine affair. Males fertilize the available females each spring(both male and female pandas in the wild can reproduce more or less their entire lives, i.e., until about the age of 20). Otherwise, their numbers are quite low.
But naturally, they spend two-thirds of the day foraging for food, and the rest of the day sleeping, lounging, and pooping.
The adult female spends the first part of the birth cycle caring pretty intensively for the infant. Once the baby is able to fend for itself, or when it is roughly two years old, the cycle begins anew for her.
Like the male, she will spend the lion's share of her day foraging for food. The rest day is spent playing with the baby (toddler, teenager), sleeping, lounging, and pooping.
If you want to take care of cute pandas and close touch with them, it's good to take 1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program with us.
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