Giant Pandas& Bamboo 
Date: 2021-10-07
Spring and the warm east wind spread the message of flowers and bring the crisp spring rain which washes the dust between heaven and earth, leaving everything so clear and fresh. The breath of spring moistens everything including the bamboo leaves which grasp the eyes of visitors at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Bamboo forests like this can be seen everywhere at the Panda Base. However, the bamboo here will not be fed as part of the diet for the Base's giant pandas.
The giant panda is a mammal in the Order Carnivora, which includes cats, dogs and the bears. But why does the giant panda eat bamboo instead of meat? We are not certain but switching to a bamboo diet most likely allowed them to survive when other food was hard to find. One thing is for sure, giant pandas eat so much bamboo they can no longer taste meat! According to a recent study, this is because the giant panda has a mutation in a taste gene that makes it unable to sense the savory (also known as the umami) taste of meat! (Reference: Zhao H, Yang JR, Xu H, Zhang J. Pseudogenization of the umami taste receptor gene Tas1r1 in the giant panda coincided with its dietary switch to bamboo. Mol Biol Evol. 2010;27(12):2669‐2673. 
So how do giant pandas eat bamboo in Spring? In each playground, they can be seen enjoying bamboo everywhere.
 Miao Miao is enjoying her bamboo in the beautiful Spring sunshine.
Yang Bang is eating bamboo with her eyes closed.
Yuan Yuan likes to eat bamboo leaves as well. 
Cheng Da: My flexible "fake thumb" and wide molars are my perfect tools  for eating bamboo stems.
Giant pandas will choose different species of bamboo during different seasons. Even if it is the same species of bamboo, giant pandas will feed on different parts of the bamboo according to factors such as nutrition, water content and freshness. They are very "picky" when it comes to eating bamboo.
In early spring and late summer, bamboo shoots are fresher, juicier and taste better than bamboo stems and leaves. Because of this, during this period, giant pandas will give priority to bamboo shoots. It is worth mentioning that the birth period for giant pandas is in the summer when bamboo shoots with higher nutrition are available. Shoots provide panda mothers enough energy for pregnancy and to nurse their cubs.
Giant Pandas’ Favorite ---Bamboo Shoots 
Qing He: Wow..It smells great! 
 Lou Abao is eating bamboo shoots with both his paws.
heng Da: It’s tasty!
It is always a pleasure to watch giant pandas eating bamboo, as if this is the best thing that happened in the world. Indeed, giant pandas have evolved for more than eight million years. Giant pandas are living fossils and a gift from nature.
Share on:
Add to FavoritesContact UsEmail LoginWebmaster Statistics
©2007 Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding ! All Rights Reserved