Panda Updates – Friday, September 20
There are a lot of misconceptions about giant pandas out in the world. As giant panda care specialists, we hear them daily, even from fellow animal caretakers! So, we are taking some time here to dispel some of those myths and put the truth about giants pandas out there. Many of these myths come from information that is outdated and has been disproved as we have learned more about giant pandas through detailed research and observation.
I would like to address the widely accepted misconception that giant pandas are cute, cuddly and harmless. Yes, they are cute, but cuddling one would be a huge mistake. They are real bears and can be just as dangerous as any other species of bear. Giant pandas pack a lot of muscle into their smaller frames and are well-equipped with large teeth, claws and strong jaws. They have thick, heavy skulls and their jaw muscles are attached at the top of their skulls at the sagittal crest, which gives them incredible jaw strength. Giant pandas have one of the strongest bite strengths of land mammals, ranked closely among hippopotamuses, polar bears, tigers, brown bears and lions. Their teeth and jaws are designed to break and crush bamboo stalks, and they can inflict serious damage on other animals or humans if they need to do so. So, though giant pandas appear to be living teddy bears, they are not; they can be dangerous, and should be given the same respect and distance as we give other wild animals.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores